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The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday told a Delhi court that the agency had no role in the leak of purported CCTV footage showing jailed AAP minister Satyendar Jain getting special treatment inside the prison cell.
The ED made the submission before Special Judge Vikas Dhull while opposing Jain's plea seeking contempt proceedings against the agency for allegedly leaking the videos to the media.
During the hearing, the counsel for Jain submitted before the court that the copy of the ED's reply to the application was already leaked to the media earlier this morning, even before the hearing could take place in the court and its copies could be given to the judge as well as the defence.
"Give me a fair trial. Even Ajmal Kasab was given that. I am surely not worse than that. Every minute I am suffering because of their (ED's) actions, the defence counsel told the court.
The agency told the court that there was not a single leak from the ED, while it sought adjournment of the matter, citing unavailability of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju.
"We will see that guilty is brought to justice. The pen drives that had the copies of the alleged video were only with the defence, the jail superintendent and the court staff. There is not a single leak from the ED, the agency told the court.
During the hearing, Jain's counsel opposed the ED's demand for adjournment, saying he was defamed every single minute by their act.
"All points of their reply are in the media. My contempt is pending and they have the audacity to give it to the media, senior advocate Rahul Mehra told the court on behalf of Jain.
Mehra further opposed the agency's request for adjournment, accusing it of delaying the matter.
He further denied the politician's role in the leak of the documents and videos, saying he had no gain by the act.
"I will not do it because there is absolutely no gain. Doing it in a selective manner, publicize it across news channels.... Before we enter court, (it) is playing all over the media. Is Jain a magician that he can get things that are in ED custody and share it with the media? They can completely negate everything just because they're ED, the defence counsel said.
Alleging that the ED was causing a "media trial", the counsel told the court that the only person prejudiced was Jain.
He further urged the court to warn jail officials not to leak any footage.
"Warn them that media channels are not given any footage... If Tihar is doing it then kindly have a judicial inquiry. Kindly have a judge appointed who should prove who leaked it to the media. If Jain is the source of the leak then he shouldn't be spared, he said.
He further said there was no violation of any rule if an undertrial was pressing Jain's hand, feet.
But across media channels hysteria is created that this minister is having a luxurious trial, he told the court.
The ED counsel told the court that to presume leak on the agency's behalf was completely preposterous.
Many Tihar officers have been suspended. The LG has set up inquiry.... There are a lot of transfers, including some top officers. To presume leak on our behalf is completely preposterous. There has been no leak and there will be no leak. What they (defence) are alleging is already in the public domain. What is the requirement of defamation? Truth is an exception, the ED's counsel told the court.
The judge adjourned the matter for November 28 for further proceedings.
The court had earlier sought the agency's response on Jain's plea accusing the ED of leaking the footage from inside the Tihar jail "despite an undertaking given in the court".
The AAP on Saturday drew flak as videos purportedly showing Jain receiving massage and meeting visitors in his prison cell emerged, with the opposition BJP and Congress demanding his sacking and a probe by agencies into violation of jail rules.
The court had on November 17 denied bail to Jain and two others in the case.
The federal agency had arrested Jain in a money laundering case based on a CBI FIR lodged against him in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Jain is accused of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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First Published: Tue, November 22 2022. 22:23 IST