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Hasan Ali`s wives, associate emerge as vital link

Wives of Khan and his associate Kashinath Tapuriah have now emerged as a "crucial" link to a huge number of investments and charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

Updated: Mar 27, 2011, 11:12 AM IST

Mumbai: Behind every successful man,
there is a woman. Investigators tracking funds of Hasan Ali
Khan, billed as the country`s largest tax evader, are racing
against time to prove the popular adage true in this case.

Wives of Khan and his associate Kashinath Tapuriah
have now emerged as a "crucial" link to a huge number of
investments and charges of money laundering and tax evasion,
which is being probed by agencies like the Enforcement
Directorate and the Income Tax Department.

The involvement of the extent of both the wives --
Rheema Hasan Ali Khan and Chandrika Tapuriah -- is being
corroborated by investigators by the sheer amount of unpaid
taxes that the I-T department assessment has charged them
with.

While the I-T department has pegged Rs 49 crore as tax
demand against Khan`s wife Rheema, a staggering Rs 20,540
crore tax demand has been raised against Chandrika by the
department in 2008.
Interestingly, Chandrika`s tax demand stands next only
to Khan which is at Rs 50,329 crore. Chandrika has also been
alleged to be a partner in a business firm related to Khan --
R M Investment and Trading Company Private Limited. The tax
demand on this firm is Rs 336 crore.

Investigators believe that a number of investment
deeds and purchases have been made with the "involvement and
identity" of both the women and that establishing their role
into the entire case is crucial for cracking it.

"The wives role and their statements will fix the
complicity of both Khan and Tapuriah in the entire case. They
are the closest to their husband`s transactions. They (Khan
and Tapuriah) have carried out a number of transactions using
their name and identity," sources involved in the probe said.

"Their role will prove that behind every successful
man there is a woman. This case is not about success but about
illegal money and criminal proceeds for money laundering and
tax evasion," sources claimed.
According to the 2008 assessment order of the I-T
department, Khan`s wife Rheema had "admitted" acquisition of
several imported cars, trips to Switzerland and other European
countries, owning number of race horses, a palatial house at
Pune and a flat in Mumbai, besides cash deposits along with
her husband.

All this was not disclosed to the department before
the searches happened in 2007, the assessment order had said.

A multi-disciplinary team of officials from I-T, ED,
Economic Offences Wing of Maharashtra Police and RBI have also
found two bank accounts of Khan and his wife Rheema in ABN
Amro Bank, Pune, which had a cash deposit of Rs 1.17 crore in
2008.

"These two accounts were placed under prohibitory
orders by the I-T authorities then and the bank has
authenticated these accounts," sources said.

Similar documents and investments have also been found
in the name of Tapuriah`s wife Chandrika.

Investigators will soon record statements of both
women again and may also confront them with their spouses
who are under the custody of the ED here.

PTI