Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain was sent to the custody of Enforcement Directorate till June 9, in connection to an alleged money laundering case registered against him.
Jain, a senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, was arrested by the ED on May 30. The agency officials told news agency ANI that his arrest was linked to "hawala transactions" which were related to a "Kolkata-based company".
Jain is accused of receiving money from shell companies in lieu of the cash transferred via hawala -- a reference to the informal cash transfer system which is often used for money laundering activities.
The case against Jain stems from an August 2017 FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against him and others on charges of alleged possession of disproportionate assets.
The CBI has claimed that Jain purchased 200 bighas of agricultural land in the names of companies controlled by him in Delhi in five years preceding 2018 and “laundered black money” to the tune of several crores of rupees.
It had alleged that Jain controlled these companies in the past either in the form of being one of the directors or by holding one-third of shares of these companies in his name or in the names of his family members or others.
The shell companies, through which Jain is accused of receiving kickbacks in lieu of the hawala transactions, were allegedly acquired by him in Delhi from 2009 to 2011.
The laundered funds were allegedly used to purchase over 200 bighas of land in Auchandi, Bawana, Karala and Mohammed Mazvi villages in Delhi between 2010-16, the probing officials alleged.
On April 5, over a month before Jain's arrest, Rs 4.81 crore-worth of assets linked to him were seized by the ED in connection to the alleged money laundering case.
The Delhi-ruling AAP has called the case against Jain as "fake" and "politically-motivated", and has accused the Centre-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of deliberately targeting him due to his involvement in the AAP's political campaign in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh.
"A fake case is being run against Satyendra Jain for 8 years. Till now ED has called him many times. In between, ED stopped calling for many years as they did not get anything. Now, they have started again because Satyendra Jain is the (party's) election in-charge of Himachal Pradesh where the BJP is losing badly. This is why Satyendra Jain has been arrested today so that he cannot go to Himachal Pradesh. He will be released in a few days as the case is completely fake," Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia rejected the allegation of "political vendetta" and that Jain's arrest was linked to upcoming polls in Himachal Pradesh. No court has quashed any proceedings of central agencies in a corruption case, he asserted.
The BJP government at the Centre has zero tolerance against corruption and will continue to target graft, Bhatia said, adding that polls keep taking place in the country, and probe agencies cannot be asked to step back from acting despite evidence because of elections.
Both, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Jain should resign, he said at a press conference, alleging the health minister had been acting at the behest of the AAP supremo. It is clear that Kejriwal has been left with no morality, he claimed.
Noting that former Punjab health minister Vijay Singla was also arrested in a corruption case recently, Bhatia alleged that the AAP has maintained a "100 per cent corruption" record.
The allegations of money laundering against Jain are serious, Bhatia said and noted that he had so far got no relief from any court.
With PTI inputs