ED Raids Six Cities in Hasan Ali Khan Blackmoney Case, 26 Lakh Seized
Initiating fresh action in the alleged money laundering and black money case against stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, the Enforcement Directorate today conducted searches across six cities and seized Rs 26 lakh in cash and documents.
The agency, which has booked Pune-based Khan and few of his alleged associates under criminal charges of money laundering in 2011, swooped down on a total of twelve premises in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurgaon, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
"Searches were conducted on at least 12 premises in six cities in Hasan Ali case. About Rs 26.3 lakh cash, documents and computer hardware containing information has been seized after the operations," officials said.
About 30 ED officials with assistance of various state police units conducted the operation, they said.
In Kolkata, sleuths searched the premises of Khan's alleged associate Kashinath Tapuriah while in Gurgaon they visited the premises of a Swiss hotelier who had been probed in this case earlier. In Pune and Mumbai they searched Khan's residences in posh areas of Peddar Road and Koregaon Park respectively.
Sources said the action against Khan and his other associates in the case has come about after a two-year lull as the agency wants to revive the case and bring to light additional evidences so that a trial against him in a Mumbai court could be initiated and the case brought to its logical conclusion and a verdict is obtained.
They said ED Director Karnal Singh recently held a high-level meeting in this regard after which the Mumbai zonal office of the agency was asked to lead the operation.
It is also understood that the agency has got "fresh leads" in the case, including by way of help from foreign jurisdictions.
Khan, who was jailed for a long time under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was released on bail in August last year after which he has been living at his homes in the two cities of Maharashtra.
The agency has attached these two immovable assets under PMLA laws and sources indicated these would soon be confiscated.
The Hasan Ali Khan case, also being probed by the Income Tax department and few state police units for various IPC offences, is also crucial for the agencies to crack from the point of Khan being the only entity named exclusively in the Terms of Reference of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money that was notified by the government last year.
ED has sent official judicial requests (Letters Rogatories) to Switzerland, Singapore, UAE, UK, USA, Hongkong and Luxembourg in the past while a special team had travelled a few years ago to meet Swiss bankers to elicit additional information about the case and alleged financial transactions of Khan and others in the banking channels of the alpine nation.
Khan came under the scrutiny from multiple agencies including the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police in 2007 who had been probing him and his associates for charges of money laundering, tax evasion and violations of the Passport Act.
As per latest data, Khan was slapped with an IT notice demanding taxes over Rs 50,000 crore and it was claimed to be the biggest individual case of black money stashed abroad and also that of the highest tax evasion by an individual in the country.
The I-T department raised a tax arrear demand of Rs 50,345.73 crore on Khan while ED registered a case under the PMLA for allegedly stashing away USD eight billion of unaccounted money in foreign banks.
ED is also probing Khan and others for alleged forex violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
A trial in this case, for money laundering offences, is pending in a Mumbai court since 2011.
In 2012, the Finance Ministry had informed Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that recovery of tax arrears from Khan is not possible despite attaching his known movable and immovable assets.
The Revenue Department had said that as per existing guidelines, recovery through sale of attached properties can be made only after the decision of appeal filed before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which is also ongoing.
Khan, his associate Kashinath Tapuriah and eight others have been named in the "top ten individual defaulters" for Income Tax assessment year 2009-10.
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