SC extends stay on Hasan Ali’s release on bail

SC extends stay on Hasan Ali’s release on bail

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday extended till 26 August the stay on the bail granted to Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, who was arrested in March on charges of money laundering.

A bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir passed the order after hearing for two hours arguments put forth by Additional Solicitor General Haren Rawal, who on behalf of enforcement directorate, challenged the bail granted to Khan by the Bombay high court about a week back.

The apex court fixed Wednesday for further hearing on the matter.

Earlier, in the day, the apex court expressed its ire over non-appearance of the government lawyer when the matter came up for hearing. It threatened to vacate the stay after Rawal failed to appear before it.

“We don’t want any such thing. You are playing with the life and liberty of a person. This is unfair on your part to obtain a stay and then cite some excuses," Justice Kabir said when told that Rawal was busy in another court.

The apex court said it was not a mere question of ASG but even the Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati was present on 16 August in a connected case and hence one of them should have been present in the court.

Upset over the senior law officer’s absence, the bench also rejected the profuse apology tendered by the junior government counsel.

“Apologies will not do. We will be forced to recall our order if your law officer (Haren Rawal) is not present here by 12:30 pm," the bench warned.

The three-judge bench had on 16 August stayed Khan’s release on bail granted by the Bombay high court.

The Bombay high court had granted bail to 53-year-old Khan on 12 August, observing that the agency had failed to show that the wealth amassed by him was proceeds of crime.

“The documents reveal that Hasan Ali Khan has huge funds in his accounts to the extent of 800 million US dollars with a bank outside India," the enforcement directorate had said.

The agency, in its petition, alleged that various transactions led by Khan through his foreign bank accounts reveal his association with international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

“The documents point to deep linkage between Khan and Khashoggi," the agency said while pressing for stay on Bombay high court’s order granting bail to Khan.

The ED had said that Khan and his arrested accomplice Kashinath Tapuriah had deep links with bank officials in the US, Switzerland, Singapore, UAE and other countries.

It had alleged that Khan has links with Khashoggi, and in 2003, $300 million was apparently received by him from the arms dealer from weapon sales.

It had also said the accused had created a complex maze of structures and transactions to hide the true source of funds and frustrate the investigations.