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Delhi High Court on ED’s petition: Order to let Jain have lawyer during questioning stayed

The court also said that the entire recording of the statement is being videographed and audiographed which would dispel the apprehension of any coercion or threat to Jain.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 5, 2022 1:09:48 am
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain

STAYING a trial court direction which permitted a lawyer to remain present at a distance during the interrogation of AAP minister Satyendar Kumar Jain by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case, the Delhi High Court Saturday said since there is neither any FIR nor a complaint against him, he cannot as a matter of right claim to have the presence of his lawyers during “the course of recording of his statement”.

Jain was remanded in the central agency’s custody on May 31 till June 9. “Since there is no apprehension (of threat or coercion) raised in the present matter, hence as a matter of right such direction ought not to have been given in the recording of statement,” said Justice Yogesh Khanna in the order dated June 3.

The court also said that even otherwise, the entire recording of the statement is being videographed and audiographed “which certainly would dispel” the apprehension of any coercion or threat to Jain.

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The court had reserved the order on Friday on the Enforcement Directorate’s petition against the trial court direction. In the order, the bench said the core issue is if Jain can have the right to the presence of his lawyer during recording of statement under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, at a safe distance from where the lawyer can see him and not hear him.

“In Sandeep Jain (a separate case), the Division Bench of this court held the apprehension of coercive measures being employed need to be real and like…  so that the principle of presence of an advocate, at visible, but not audible distance be applied,” said the court while disposing of the stay application moved by ED.

In respect of the court’s observation that there is no FIR or complaint in the case, a counsel, who appeared in the case, told The Indian Express: “What the court means to say is that the FIR is in the original CBI case but the ED has only registered an ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report)so far, and the PMLA complaint is registered after that. It is basically hyper technicality.”

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Allowing a prayer made by Jain’s counsel on Tuesday, the Special Judge of Rouse Avenue Court in the remand order had said: “It is directed that during the time of enquiry/interrogation from the accused, one advocate of the accused shall be allowed to remain present at a safe distance where from he can see the accused but not hear him.”  The prayer had been “vehemently” opposed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the ED before the trial court.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, representing the ED, Friday argued before the High Court that the permission granted by the trial court was contrary to various Supreme Court decisions and told the bench that the audio-video recording of the interrogation is being done.

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First published on: 04-06-2022 at 03:22:07 pm

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