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‘Hawala, buying land with crime proceeds’ — why ED has arrested Delhi minister Satyendar Jain

The Delhi minister has been arrested in connection with a money laundering probe conducted by the ED, following the registration of a 2017 disproportionate assets case by CBI.

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday arrested Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain in connection with a 2017 disproportionate assets case allegedly involving hawala transactions via shell companies, agency officials told ThePrint.

According ED sources, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against Jain in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the ED also started a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to investigate the money trail.

In the CBI’s case, Jain was accused of “acquisition of assets disproportionate to his income” to the tune of Rs 1.47 crore (over 200 per cent more than his income, according to CBI sources). It was also alleged that the companies in which Jain was a director laundered money to the tune of Rs. 11.78 Crore during the years between 2010 and 2012 and Rs. 4.63 crores during 2015-16, when Jain was a public servant, which is now under probe by ED.

ED sources said that their investigation had revealed that in 2015-16, when Jain was working in the central public works department, four firms “beneficially owned and controlled by him” received “accommodation entries (a term used for hawala transfers) to the tune of Rs 4.81 crore from shell companies against cash transferred to Kolkata-based entry operators through hawala route”.

This, the sources explained, means money secured through corrupt means was routed to these shell companies through hawala operators in Kolkata as business payments.

According to the CBI FIR accessed by ThePrint, money in cash was given, allegedly by Jain, through his employees and associates, to some Kolkata-based entry operators of different shell companies, for providing accommodation entries in lieu of cash.

“Thereafter, these entry operators re-routed the money received in the form of investment through shares of these companies,” it added.

 According to the FIR, enquiry conducted by the Income Tax Department showed the main beneficiary of the financial transactions was Jain

“These amounts were then utilised for direct purchase of land or for the repayment of loan taken for purchase of agricultural land in and around Delhi,” an ED statement issued in April said.

According to sources in ED, the money received back from the shell company operators, in the form of investment in shares, was utilised to purchase agricultural land worth Rs.27.69 Crore in Delhi during 2010-11 to

The agency had in April this year also provisionally attached immovable properties worth Rs 4.81 crore belonging to five shell companies — Akinchan Developers, Indo Metalimpex, Paryas Infosolutions, Manglayatan Projects Pvt. Ltd, Ideal Estate Pvt. Ltd — all of which were in the names of Jain’s relatives, namely, Swati Jain, Sushila Jain and Indu Jain.

Satyender Jain, who belongs to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was questioned by the ED in connection with the money laundering case in 2018. “The minister was unable to explain the source of funds received by these companies in which he was a shareholder since all this was illegitimate money,” an ED source told ThePrint.

Earlier this month, the CBI had closed a separate case of corruption against the Delhi minister, which was also filed in 2018, after failing to gather enough evidence to prosecute him and others in the case. 

While the minister has not yet made any statement on his arrest, the AAP has called the ED’s case “farzi” (fake). 

AAP leader Sanjay Singh, at a press conference held Monday, said that the Jain had appeared in front of the ED seven times in connection with the case. “How is it that the ED is arresting him now?” he asked.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also took to Twitter to condemn the arrest and hit out at the BJP. He alleged that the party was targeting Jain since he has been made the election in-charge of Himachal Pradesh, where assembly polls are due later this year. 

Also Read: Bagga, Lamba, Vishwas — the script behind AAP’s ‘critic crackdown’ & why many aren’t sold on it

The hawala case

The Union home ministry had granted the CBI sanction to prosecute Jain in November 2018.

In December that year, the CBI had filed a chargesheet against Jain, his wife Poonam and four business associates and relatives — Ajit Prasad Jain, Vaibhav Jain, Sunil Kumar Jain and Ayush Jain — in the disproportionate assets case.

According to agency sources, the minister and his family members controlled or have stakes or hold shares in four shell companies — Prayas Info Solutions, Akinchan Developers, Mangalyatan Projects and Indo Metal Impex Pvt Ltd — and Jain was a director in all companies except Indo Metalimpex. The fifth company, Ideal Estate Pvt. Ltd, was discovered later.

The sources further said although Jain resigned from directorship in these companies before the 2013 Delhi assembly elections, his family members continued to hold shares in these companies and his shares were transferred to his wife in February 2015. However, Jain was “effectively controlling the companies through his wife even after that”, they added.

The CBI also alleged that Jain was assisted in routing money through shell companies by two other persons. 

“The minister and another accused allegedly sent money to one of the two persons who in turn provided accommodation entries in the form of share application money to four of the Kolkata-based shell companies in 2010-2016,” the agency had said in a statement in December 2018.

The investigating agency had earlier conducted raids at multiple locations, including Jain’s residence.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: 1,360 — the number of AAP volunteers Kejriwal is banking on to turn the tide in Himachal


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