The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday arrested Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain in an alleged money laundering case.
The ED alleged that the minister was involved in hawala transactions with a Kolkata-based firm in 2015-2016. A hawala system involves two parties transacting money with local agents on their behalf without the funds actually passing through formal banking channels.
In August 2017, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed a case against Jain and his family for alleged money laundering up to ₹ 1.62 crore. The probe agency alleged that Jain and his family had set up four shell firms - companies with no real business - to launder ₹ 11.78 crore in 2011-12 and ₹ 4.63 crore in 2015-16
Based on CBI’s FIR, the ED launched its probe the money laundering allegations.
The arrest has already sparked a fresh war between Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and the central government, which the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and other opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Telangana's K Chandrashekar Rao have often alleged used central agencies to harass them.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted this evening the arrest was made with an eye on the upcoming election in Himachal Pradesh, where Mr Jain is the AAP's in-charge.
"A fake case is being run against Satyendar Jain for eight years. Till now ED (Enforcement Directorate) has called many times. In between, ED stopped calling for many years as they did not get anything. Now they started again because Satyendar Jain is the election in-charge of Himachal," Mr Sisodia tweeted.
"BJP is losing badly in Himachal. That is why Satyendar Jain has been arrested today so that he cannot go to Himachal. He will be released in a few days as the case is completely fake," he further said.
Elections in the BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh is due later this year and the AAP is eyeing a win, confident of starting a streak since its first victory in Punjab earlier this year.
It may be mentioned that Kejriwal had earlier said that his sources have told him that his colleague Satyendar Jain would likely be arrested by the ED.
“From our sources, we have got to know that right before Punjab polls, in the coming few days, the ED is going to arrest Satyendar Jain. They are most welcome. Previously too, the centre had conducted raids on Satyendar Jain but got nothing," he said.