SC extends Hasan Ali`s custody for 3 more days

The Supreme Court granted three days of additional custodial interrogation to the Enforcement Directorate of Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan allegedly involved in money laundering activities.

Last Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 00:46 AM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday
granted three days of additional custodial interrogation to
the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of Pune stud farm owner
Hasan Ali Khan allegedly involved in money laundering
activities.

At an extraordinary hearing held at the residence of
Justice Aftab Alam, the apex court extended Ali`s custody with
ED till March 25.

Justice RM Lodha also participated in the special
hearing which was held at around 7.30 pm at the request of the
ED as Ali`s custody was coming to an end on March 22.

Media persons were not allowed to cover the hearing.

Though Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium appearing
for the ED declined to speak, Santosh Paul, counsel for Hasan,
told reporters that the investigating authorities had been
given three more days custody of the accused.

He said the ED had sought at least a week`s custody,
but the Special Bench had declined to entertain the request
and granted only three more days.

The counsel said the ED also gave an undertaking that
it would give necessary medical facilities to Khan suffering
from certain medical problems and also keep the court posted
about the progress of his treatment.

Khan was taken into custody by ED on March 17 after
the Supreme Court cancelled the bail granted to him by a trial
court.

The ED has questioned Khan, facing close to Rs
70,000 crore tax demand notice from the Income-Tax Department,
with regard to his past trips to various countries and his
business dealings within the country.

Information on Khan`s properties in the country and
abroad, both in his name or `benami`, are also being examined
by the ED after it was rapped by the Supreme Court bench of
Justices B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar for not subjecting
him to custodial interrogation.

Subsequently, a multi-disciplinary team of officials
from Income Tax department, the ED, the Economic Offences Wing
of Maharashtra Police and RBI have also prepared a list of
"required updated information" to be sought from various
business associates and firms in connection with the probe.

The ED has already asked the Union Home Ministry to
study the charges against Khan relating to national security.

53-year-old Khan surrendered before the ED in Mumbai on
March 17.

A Mumbai court had on March 11 rejected the ED`s plea
for custodial interrogation of Khan on the ground that the
agency had not gathered sufficient evidence or made any case
to justify its plea for Khan`s custodial interrogation.

The apex court on March 17 while directing Khan`s
custodial interrogation also castigated Mumbai Principal
Sessions Judge ML Tahaliyani`s order of granting bail to
Khan, and said it was "deeply disturbed" at the manner in
which the trial court judge had rejected the ED`s contention
and given a lengthy order for it.

"The order passed by the learned judge has created an
extraordinary situation which may ultimately frustrate the
entire investigation. Having regard to the extraordinary
situation, complexity of the issue and the magnitude of the
case, we deem it fit to stay the order," the bench had said.

The ED had told the apex court that it was in
possession of incriminating evidence against Khan showing that
he has stashed huge black money in various banks abroad.

It alleged Khan had withdrawn about 60,000 dollars
from a Swiss bank and cited communications from Swiss official
sources to back its allegation.

Tahaliyani rejected ED`s plea for custodial
interrogation of Khan on the ground that the agency could
not prove any "scheduled offence" against him to justify its
plea in this regard.

He had also slammed the ED saying some of the
"confidential" evidence provided by it was available in
"Wikipedia", a free encyclopedia.

The I-T department has raised a tax demand of Rs
50,329 crore against Khan, Rs 49 crore against his wife Rheema
Hassan Ali Khan, Rs 591 crore against Kashi Nath Tapuriah, Rs
20,540 crore against Tapuriah`s wife Chandrika and a Rs 336
crore against a business firm related to Khan, RM Investment
and Trading Company Private Limited after its assessment in
2008.

PTI