SC pulls up Mumbai court over Hasan Ali

Supreme Court remanded tax evader Hasan Ali Khan in Enforcement Directorate`s custody for four days.

Updated: Mar 17, 2011, 23:19 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday
remanded Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan in Enforcement
Directorate`s custody for four days, while pulling up the
trial court judge who had granted bail to him dismissing the
agency`s plea for his remand in a money laundering case.

A bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar
said it was "deeply disturbed" at the manner in which the
trial court judge had rejected the ED`s contention and granted
bail while giving a lengthy order for it.

The apex court initially remanded Khan, 53, in ED`s
custody for 72 hours but extended it to four days following a
plea made by Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium.

"The way the proceedings were conducted, we are deeply
disturbed," the bench observed, while staying the trial
court`s order for bail to Khan and wondered, "Why has the
learned judge written so much?"

The apex court said it was staying the trial court`s
order due to the extraordinary circumstances of the case.

"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 said.

Earlier, making a forceful plea on behalf of the
ED, the Solicitor General submitted to the court that the
trial court judge had exceeded his brief and passed an unusual
order for granting bail to Khan, despite neither the accused
nor his counsel making any plea for it.

He pointed out the judge had granted bail to Khan,
while dealing with ED`s plea for his remand for his custodial
The Solicitor General claimed the ED was in possession
of incriminating evidence against Khan showing that he has
stashed huge black money in various banks abroad.

He alleged Khan had withdrawn about 60,000 dollars
from a Swiss bank and cited communications from Swiss official
sources to substantiate the allegation.

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

Khan is also facing a Rs 70,000 crore tax demand
notice from the Income-Tax Department as well as the ED probe.
The ED had arrested Khan on March 7 after being pulled
up by the Supreme Court for its failure to ensure his
custodial interrogation. But the trial court had let him

Meanwhile, Hasan Ali was arrested by the ED officials in Mumbai shortly after the Supreme Court order cancelled his bail.