Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Giving a clean chit to his beleaguered minister Satyendra Jain, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called Jain a ‘patriot’ and sought Padma Vibhushan for him on Wednesday. Jain was arrested a day earlier by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a 2017 money laundering case and was sent to custody till June 9. The arrest came after the ED attached immovable properties worth Rs 4.81 crore owned by companies named Akinchan Developers, Indo Metal Impex and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 in April this year.

After Jain was arrested, the Delhi Chief Minister has strongly come to his defence, even going to the extent of claiming that CBI has closed the case. In the course of inauguration of a sewage treatment plant on Tuesday, Kejriwal called Jain a ‘patriot’ and sought the second highest civilian award for him for giving Delhi the concept of Mohalla Clinic. “The country should be proud of him. He gave the Mohalla Clinic to Delhi. People from across the world have come to see it. He should be given Padma Vibhushan,” Kejriwal categorically said.

Claiming that the case against Jain was false, the chief minister further said, “Let everyone enquire into him. CBI has already cleared him, ED will as well.” Padma Vibhushan is given by the government of India for ‘exceptional and distinguished service.’

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), however, has refuted reports claiming that the agency has filed a closure report against Jain in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case. ANI quoted a CBI official as saying, “No closure report has been filed against Satyendra Jain.” The CBI had registered a DA case against Jain on August 24, 2017, and filed a charge sheet against him on December 3, 2018. In fact, the CBI was the first to register a preliminary enquiry (PE) in 2017 against Jain after receiving a complaint from the Vigilance Department of the Delhi government. Later an FIR was registered based on the findings, and searches and raids were conducted.

Suggesting that those behind his government were

‘hard-core patriots’, Kejriwal said, “I have personally read all the papers and case filed against Satyendra Jain by ED and it is completely false. We have a very strict and honest government. We are hard-core patriots, can get beheaded but can never betray the country. His arrest is politically motivated.”

Jain is alleged to have floated or bought several shell companies in Delhi and laundered money worth Rs. 16.39 crore through 54 shell companies of three hawala operators from Kolkata.

In a related development, Union minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday lambasted the Delhi Chief Minister for giving Jain a ‘clean chit’. Speaking to media persons here Irani said, “Arvind Kejriwal presumed the role of a judge and gave him a clean chit. I want to ask Arvind Kejriwal a few questions. My first question is, can Kejriwal deny that Satyendra Jain laundered Rs. 16.39 crore using 56 shell companies with the support of hawala operators in Kolkata from 2010-11 to 2015-16?”