The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the trial court in New Delhi not to consider for the time being Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain’s medical report given by state government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital while dealing with his plea seeking interim bail in connection with a money laundering case.
Justice Jasmeet Singh sought a response from Satyendar Jain on the plea by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that he be medically examined at hospitals like AIIMS, RML, or Safdarjung instead of LNJP where he is admitted.
“Issue notice (on the petition)… It is directed that the Special Judge shall not consider the medical report from LNJP till the next date of hearing,” ordered the court.
“In case he (trial court judge) wants to grant bail on some other ground, that’s up to him,” Justice Singh orally said.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the investigating agency, said that the Supreme Court in its verdict concerning the validity of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act has upheld the twin conditions of bail in money laundering cases.
The senior lawyer emphasized that there is a grave likelihood that Satyendar Jain, who was the city Health Minister, exercises “influence over LNJP” and said that even his picture is displayed prominently on the hospital website and he was also the “guest of honour” at an event there.
Mr Raju said that there was a need for an independent evaluation of his health before his plea for release on the ground of ill health is considered by the trial court.
“Till today (it has been) 46 days. He got admitted to LNJP and (has spent) not a single day in jail,” he said.
He also referred to a case of Calcutta High Court directing an arrested West Bengal minister to be medically examined by AIIMS.
Raju said that he was not pressing the agency’s prayer for shifting Jain to AIIMS, RML, or Safdarjung Hospital at this stage and urged that the medical report by LNJP, if any, not be considered by the trial court till the next date of hearing.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on August 17.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was arrested on May 30 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and was first sent to police custody and thereafter in judicial custody.
In the petition, ED has challenged a trial court’s July 6 order rejecting the agency’s prayer to get the accused medically evaluated by any independent hospital such as Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital or AIIMS, instead of LNJP Hospital.
“The Directorate of Enforcement has a serious doubt as to whether the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital or even the GB Pant Hospital would be able to independently assess the medical condition of the respondent (Jain) herein for the reason that these hospitals continue to prominently display the picture of the respondent on its home page and as evident from the plaque commemorating the inauguration of Lok Nayak Hospital, it is evident that the same was done in the presence of the respondent herein as the Guest of Honour, who was holding the portfolio of Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of NCT of Delhi,” the petition has said.
It has also challenged the trial court’s July 19 order passed in the interim bail application of Jain.
The trial court then adjourned the matter for arguments on July 29 and sought a detailed medical report from LNJP Hospital.
The ED has claimed that on June 27, the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case had gone to LNJP Hospital where he found that Jain was sleeping on the patient bed without any cannula on his hand and even the multipara patient monitor was switched off and he was not being monitored by any medical instrument and his wife was present in the room.
“When the IO reached the room, the respondent immediately wore the oxygen mask, the BP apparatus belt, and the monitor was switched on. It was under these suspicious circumstances and the fact that prima facie the condition of the respondent was not such which required hospitalisation, an application was preferred (before the trial court) seeking a direction that he may be admitted in any independent hospital like the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital or AIIMS Hospital at New Delhi for an independent evaluation of his health,” it said, adding that the application was dismissed by the trial court.