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Hasan Ali grilled in fake passport case

(image) Mumbai: Police on Friday grilled Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan for the second consecutive day in connection with a fake passport case and summoned Indian Ambassador to Panama for questioning after his name surfaced in the same case.

"Khan was questioned for the second consecutive day in connection with the fake passport case inside the Arthur Road jail, after permission from a sessions court," Joint Police Commissioner (Law & Order) Rajnish Seth said.

Khan is currently lodged in the high-security Arthur Road jail, after the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in connection with an alleged money laundering and tax evasion case.

Earlier, Khan had been arrested by the city police in December 2008 for allegedly procuring a passport by submitting fake documents. The Pune businessman was charged with forgery and cheating and later released on bail.

Khan was yesterday briefly questioned in the prison. He was taken to a government hospital for medical examination and later taken to the jail at 4.45 pm, police said.

A three-member team, headed by senior inspector Vasant Tajane today grilled Khan for five hours from 12 pm and recorded his statement.

Meanwhile, city police summoned India`s Ambassador to Panama Vishnu Hade for questioning after his name surfaced in the case.

"We have recently sent a letter through a proper channel, asking the ambassador to remain present before us for questioning. Thorough probe will reveal if he (Hade) had played any role in the case," Seth said.

"Just because he (Hade) has been asked to appear for questioning does not mean he was involved in the crime," Seth said, adding that Hade was not given any time-frame for appearing before the police

During the fake passport case probe, a Regional Passport Officer had been earlier questioned who revealed that Khan`s passport was cleared on a priority basis after he received a call from Hade, police said.

Hade was associated with Mumbai`s passport office, when the passport was issued to Khan. According to police, Khan had lost his original passport issued by the Hyderabad office in 2006, when he was in England.

Subsequently, he was given a fresh passport, valid for a year, by the Indian High Commission`s office in England. He had used it to travel to Switzerland and Canada, police added.

Later, Khan applied for a new passport in Pune. However, the police found that the billionaire had two other passports procured by submitting fake documents, one issued in Mumbai and the other in Patna.

A sessions court had, on Wednesday, allowed Worli Police to interrogate Khan for two days in connection with the fake passport case after they moved an application in this regard.

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