New Delhi: Facing ED summons for his
alleged links with Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan,
Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh has written to the Home
Minister admitting that he had recommended expeditious
issue of passport to him but claimed he did not know him.
Singh, in a letter to Home Minister P Chidambaram
here, who he met yesterday, said he had made the
recommendation for Khan at the behest of a Bihar Congress
The Enforcement Directorate will also quiz Vijay
Shankar Pandey, who was removed today as UP Principal
Secretary (Information), following questioning of the Bihar
politician Amalendu Pandey in Mumbai.
The two will be questioned in connection with the
passport procured by Khan and some investments done by him
In his letter, Singh said that on April 4, 1997
Amalendu Pandey approached him for issuance of passport from
Patna for someone on compassionate grounds.
The reason given was the brother of the person
seeking passport was seriously ill abroad and the presence of
the applicant for looking after him was extremely essential.
"In view of the plea, explained by Amalendu Pandey, a
known Congress leader, I referred the case to the then
Minister of External Affairs I K Gujral on April 4, 1997...
"It is pertinent to mention here that I did not know
the said applicant H Khan at all neither did I ever meet him.
I only issued the letter for expeditious issue of his
passport, believing the assertions of a known Congress leader
to the effect that his brother was not well on purely
humanitarian and compassionate grounds," Singh said in his
Singh said he did not verify the application of Khan
for issuance of Passport which contains a specific clause that
the officer/MP verifying knows the person personally.
"As I did not know him hence I did not verify the
application," he said.
The ED is also likely to quiz Khan`s aide Kashinath
Tapuria, who is in the agency`s custody, after similar leads
emerged in the case following the questioning of the
Amlendu Pandey was grilled on April 14 by the ED for
allegedly procuring passport from Patna for Ali by forging
The ED had mentioned in its remand application that
it was necessary to question him regarding transactions of
Khan in Singapore and also to find out the reasons for
obtaining the second passport from Patna.
Khan, Pandey and Tapuria had allegedly travelled to
Singapore in 1997 to open an account in the United Bank of
Khan is accused of massive money-laundering, tax
evasion and stashing away huge amounts in foreign banks.
According to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor
General of India (CAG), Khan and Tapuriahs owe the
government about Rs 75,000 crore in taxes.
While talking about Tapuriahs, Singh said, the Kolkata
based businessman was intoduced to him by Amlendu Pandey as a
"prominent and august personality belonging to the Birla
family" and also informed that Mahatama Gandhi used to stay at
their residence whenever he visited the eastern metrolpolis of
Singh said Pandey also informed him that Tapuriah`s
wife Chandrika has to accompany her husband to a foreign
destination for his treatment and she needed her passport to
"Chandrika Tapuriah also spoke to me and requested me
to help her in the renewal of her passport on an urgent basis
due to a medical emergency. Again on compassionate grounds I
wrote a letter to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of External
Affairs for renewal of her passport.
".....after that I have absolutely no link with
Tapuriah or his family members and no one has ever contacted
me on his behalf," the letter said.
Singh said he has no link with Hassan Ali neither did
he know his full name which he has now learnt from newspaper
"Neither have I ever met him or spoken to him and that
letter of April 4, 1997 was an isolated incident. Neither
before nor after that have I ever written anything for him,"
The Puduchhery Lieutenant Governor also denied that a
PSO had collected the passport of Khan from Patna passport
office on his directions.
"I distinctly remember that I did not send anyone to
collect the passport of Khan from Patna or for that matter of
anyone else. As far as I remember there was no constable by
the name of Ashok Kumar as PSO with me during 1997 or at any
time before or after that," he said.