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ED cracks down on tax evader Hasan Ali

Hasan Ali, accused of stashing black money abroad, has been detained by the ED.



Pune: Hasan Ali Khan, the Pune stud farm
owner facing charges of huge money laundering and tax evasion,
was taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate after a
day-long search of his premises by its officials on Monday.

About a dozen ED officials from Mumbai came down to
Pune to search Khan premises in posh Koregaon Park area, a
little distance away from the landmark German Bakery. Khan was
picked up in the afternoon and driven away, presumably to
Mumbai, for interrogation.

There was no official word from the ED and media
persons waiting outside Khan`s residence were not briefed
about the operations.

Clad in white kurta and wearing sunglasses, Khan was
seen inside a black Mercedes that left the Tulip bungalow
located in Valentine Residential Society escorted by ED
sleuths in two cars.

Khan`s detention came a day before the Supreme Court`s
March 8 deadline to the government to inform it how it
proposed to tackle black money hoarders.

Meanwhile, his lawyer RK Gaur said Khan has not been
detained and that he was being taken to the ED`s office as
part of a "routine investigation".

"Hasan Ali Khan has not been detained till now. He has
been taken to the investigative agency`s office. This is a
routine investigation. It happens in all cases. The ED
searched his premises and now has taken him to its office," he
Gaur said.

Asked if there was any link between Supreme Court`s
remarks about the government`s failure to ensure Khan`s
custodial interrogation and his detention, Gaur said, "SC has
not directed anything. There must have been some remarks but
no direction."

Gaur said Khan had not stashed any money in the Swiss
banks. "There is no black money lying anywhere. Yes, there is
an allegation. Everything has been accounted for. There is no
such amount (USD 8 billion) lying in UBS and UBS has also said
they have no relationship (with Khan)," he said.

About the Rs 40,000 crore penalty that the Income Tax
authorities plan to recover from Khan for tax evasion, he
said, there was no evidence of him having stashed away such
huge amounts to warrant the penalty.

Khan, who is also a real estate consultant, was under the
scanner for suspected money laundering and for allegedly
transferring cash and valuable assets outside the country by
unlawful means with the help of foreign nationals.

The previous searches at Khan`s Koregaon home were in
January 2007 when the Income Tax department had raided the
premises.

Khan had appeared before I-T authorities in Mumbai on
February 18 apparently in connection with notices issued to
him on December 31, 2008, over alleged tax evasions in
connection with undisclosed funds in several foreign bank
accounts, including USD 8 billion in an account in the Zurich
branch of UBS. The UBS had however denied any business
relationship with him.

Tax enforcement agencies are now trying to locate
properties of Khan abroad which could be attached or auctioned
to extract from him a huge tax liability to the tune of Rs
40,000 crore.

The Supreme Court while lambasting the Centre last
Thursday for not having the "will power" to act against black
money hoarders asked why Khan and others were not subjected to
custodial interrogation despite the probe agencies possessing
sufficient material.

"What the hell is going on in this country," the court
had asked, observing that the alleged offenders were a
"pampered lot".

Expressing strong displeasure at the manner in which
Khan and other alleged offenders were given repeated
opportunities for adjournments by the ED, the court said the
authorities were "hoodwinking" everybody and wondered whether
the same leniency would have been extended to other petty
offenders.

The Court also indicated that if the government fails to
act, it would be compelled to appoint a special officer for
supervising the probe against the offenders.

The bench had granted time till March eight to the
Centre to come out with its stand failing which it would be
constrained to pass appropriate orders.

The ED last Friday also issued a `Look Out Circular` at
all airports against Khan to ensure he does not flee the
country.

PTI

From Zee News

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