After apex court rap, ED to interrogate Hasan Ali

After apex court rap, ED to interrogate Hasan Ali

Mumbai/Kolkata: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai on Monday searched the residence of Hasan Ali Khan, Pune-based stud farm owner and real estate consultant and the main accused in a case involving alleged money laundering of $8.04 billion (Rs36,260 crore today).

“There is a search going on in Mumbai and Pune residences and our officials will bring Khan to Mumbai for questioning," said an ED official, who did not want to be identified.

Khan was not being arrested or detained by the agency, he said.

At 6pm when Mint spoke to ED, the search in Mumbai was still going on. ED completed the search at Khan’s Pune residence by that time.

ED, which investigates violation of foreign exchange norms, also conducted search and seizure operations at Khan’s former business associate Kashinath Tapuriah’s residence and office in Kolkata, “as part of a four-year-long investigation", said Tapuriah.

The operation began at around midday, and ended at around 6pm. At the end of the operation, Tapuriah said the probe by government investigating agencies was based on “dubious documents". “I have nothing to do with Hasan Ali," Tapuriah said.

Charged with violating foreign exchange laws and tax evasion, Khan has been under the scanner of ED and the income-tax department (I-T) since 2007.

This move by ED has come three days after the Supreme Court asked the government why Khan was not being interrogated in custody during the hearing of a petition filed by lawyer Ram Jethmalani and some former bureaucrats seeking the court’s direction to the government to bring black money—to the tune of $1 trillion, according to some estimates—back to the country.

ED had issued a show-cause notice to Khan in 2008 for alleged foreign exchange violations and keeping $8.04 billion in a UBS AG account. UBS has denied any business relationship with Khan. The I-T department, which is now set to prosecute Khan, had first raided his residence at Koregaon Park in Pune in January 2007 and seized documents that disclosed his $8.04 billion account with UBS Zurich. The department said Khan had concealed income and not filed I-T returns since 1999. The department had also raided his properties in Mumbai and Hyderabad in 2007.