The Supreme Court on Friday extended till September 1 the interim bail of former Delhi minister Satyendar Jain in a money laundering case despite vehement opposition by the Enforcement Directorate, which said the medical advice tendered to the AAP leader did not warrant the relief.
A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and M M Sundresh granted the relief to Jain after taking note of his medical report.
"Though the Additional Solicitor General opposes the grant of extension of interim bail by contending that medical advice as referred to is not sufficient to extend the bail... medical bail granted earlier stands extended till September 1," the bench said.
At the outset, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi submitted that Jain is entitled to regular bail as he has been in jail for over 15 months.
Referring to the senior AAP leader's medical condition, Singhvi said he is undergoing rehabilitation after a crucial surgery of the spine.
The doctors have suggested aquatic physiotherapy and he can walk only with assistance, Singhvi said.
"Bathroom only in a standing position, walk only with assistance," Singhvi read from the medical report.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju strongly opposed the extension of bail and said Jain should be evaluated independently by AIIMS, Delhi.
"We can take him to swimming pool for physiotherapy purposes. He wants a swimming pool in jail. If he wants we can take him to a swimming pool for aquatic exercise. All patients cannot afford a swimming pool.
"He does not require a single day of extension. There is nothing warranting the extension for even a day. Kindly look at the medical advice. Look at the type of medical advice," Raju said.
"What to do if he avails physiotherapy and you take his photograph and publish it," the bench said jokingly, in an apparent reference to a string of photographs of Jain being given special treatment inside Tihar jail.
The ASG told the court it was a co-accused who did it.
"He made the co-accused massage in the jail. My lords may ask him to surrender and hear his bail application. He should be treated like an ordinary petitioner," Raju said.
The Enforcement Directorate had accused Jain, who continued to be the minister in-charge of prisons for several months despite being lodged in judicial custody, of getting special treatment inside the Tihar Jail and alleged that unknown persons were giving him body and foot massages.
The ED had also shared certain CCTV images with the court and alleged that most of the time Jain was either in hospital or in the jail enjoying facilities that are not due to a prisoner.
The top court had on May 26 granted interim bail to Jain for six weeks on medical grounds, saying a citizen has a right to receive treatment of his choice in a private hospital at his own expense. It had extended the interim bail by five weeks on July 24.
The ED had arrested him on May 30 last year on the charge of laundering money through four companies allegedly linked to him.
The anti-money laundering agency had arrested Jain on the basis of a CBI FIR registered against him in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act. He was granted regular bail by the trial court on September 6, 2019 in the case registered by the CBI.
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