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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hasan Ali Khan remanded

Hasan Ali remanded to Enforcement Directorate custody

Hasan Ali Khan remandedThe Supreme Court on 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 Mr. 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 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 Mr. Khan, despite neither the accused nor his counsel making any plea for it.

He pointed out the judge had granted bail to Mr. Khan, while dealing with ED’s plea for his remand for his custodial interrogation.

The Solicitor General claimed the ED was in possession of incriminating evidence against Mr. Khan showing that he has stashed huge black money in various banks abroad.

He alleged Mr. Khan had withdrawn about $60,000 from a Swiss bank and cited communications from Swiss official sources to substantiate the allegation.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 Mr. Khan on the ground that the agency had not gathered sufficient evidence to justify its plea for his custodial interrogation.

Mr. 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 Mr. 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 off.

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