Hasan Ali case: Court pulls up ED for not making a proper case

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate was on Wednesday rapped by a Mumbai court for not doing its homework and making a proper case against Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan for his custody on money laundering charges.

"You have not been able to make any case and you want me to hear you. If you want to do some homework, you can take time," Principal Sessions Court Judge M L Tahaliyani sternly told the ED while adjourning the hearing.

53-year old Khan, a real estate consultant and owner of race horses, was arrested on Monday midnight under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after prolonged searches at his premises in Pune and here and sustained interrogation.

He is alleged to have stashed over 8 billion USD in Swiss Banks besides having links to international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. Khan is also facing charges of tax evasion of over Rs 40,000 crore.

Khan has claimed that he has not done anything wrong and dismissed reports of having stashed huge amounts in Swiss banks.

Taking note of reports of Khan`s alleged links with arms dealers and people associated with terror activities, the Supreme Court had yesterday asked the Centre to consider whether he could be booked under the anti-terror law.

The bench had suggested invoking of anti-terror laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other stringent provisions of the Indian Penal Code owing to Khan`s alleged links with various arms dealers including Adnan Khashogi and terror-related activities, impinging national security.

Despite ED having moved the remand application yesterday, it was not heard by the Mumbai court which raised the issue of jurisdiction before going ahead with the proceedings.

Judge Tahaliyani while raising the question of jurisdiction had said that the matter should have been first brought before a magistrate.

Public Prosecutor N Punde had contended that under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, a special court was empowered to conduct the proceedings and hence he had the jurisdiction.

Defence counsel I P Bagadia too concurred with the view, but the Principal Judge had adjourned the hearing till today to decide the question.