SC for invoking terror charges against Hasan Ali

The Central government on Tuesday faced further rap in the Supreme Court on the action taken against Hasan Ali Khan.

Last Updated: Mar 08, 2011, 13:41 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday mulled
invoking terror and other stringent penal charges against Pune
stud owner Hasan Ali Khan, accused of massive money laundering
and tax evasion, for his alleged links with arm dealers and
people linked to terror activities.

A bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar
also asked the Union government to examine if the case
registered against him for possessing fake passports could be
probed by the CBI.

The bench contemplated invoking terror charges under
anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other
stringent provisions of the Indian Penal Code owing to Khan`s
alleged links with various arms dealers and those involved
with terror-related activities, threatening the country`s
security.

The bench expressed displeasure that the probe against
Khan in the fake passport case had not proceeded in the right
direction with right speed "as nothing is moving despite the
magnitude of the issue".

The court made the observations and issued directions
while hearing a public interest litigation filed by eminent
jurist Ram Jethmalani, seeking repatriation of huge corpus of
black money stashed in banks abroad by unscrupulous Indian
citizens.

Khan was arrested last night by the Enforcement
Directorate which carried out searches at his Pune home and
that of his associates` premises in several cities, cracking
the whip to meet today`s Supreme Court deadline.

53-year-old Ali, who was detained in Pune, was brought
to Mumbai later and was grilled by the ED for nearly six hours
before being put under arrest.

The apex court also asked the government to furnish
details of the four officials probing the case against Khan,
who were abruptly transferred midway into the investigation.

The government responded to the query saying the
officials were on deputation with the ED and were repatriated.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, however, assured
the court that he would take up the matter with the government
and see that the officials are retained.

The government also admitted that the court was
justified in seeking Khan`s custodial interrogation as the
charges against him warranted such questioning.

"It is a case in which a case is made out for
custodial interrogation," Subramaniam said.

The Solicitor General also admitted that one of the
investigating officers, who was a deputy commissioner of
police, was earlier harassed apparently by his superiors as he
had the courage to take on Khan in the fake passport case.

Meanwhile, senior counsel Anil Divan, appearing for
petitioner Jethmalani, expressed serious apprehension about
Khan`s life as he had enough material to expose the
powers-that-be behind his various murky deals.

The counsel recalled that Ashutosh Asthana, a key
accused in the Ghaziabad provident fund scam, was found dead
under mysterious circumstances in Dasna Jail of the district
during the CBI probe into the case.

Meanwhile, the ED submitted to the court in a sealed
cover its status report on the probe into the case related to
black money in which they also mentioned Khan`s arrest last
night.

Subramaniam also told the court that besides the ED
report, he would also furnish a status report relating to the
investigation so far conducted by the Income Tax department.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing to
March 18.

PTI