Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan (61), who is facing charges of tax default besides money laundering, has said he does not owe any money to the income tax (I-T) department.
“Income tax case, what I have to pay? Nothing. By assuming things, they (I-T department) cannot frame anybody. Why are they not submitting the documents they have? Their entire case is based on photocopies. There is no original document they have. That is the reason the (Bombay) High Court has given firing to them, income tax. And, we got a stay on all the seven cases of income tax because they don’t have original papers. Assuming figures…” Khan told The Indian Express on Monday.
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He added, “They have asked Rs 58,000 crore (in taxes) from my wife and Rs 74,000 crore from me. (The) High Court has given a stay on that saying on what ground you are asking this money.”
On Monday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned Khan for two hours in connection with the money laundering case filed against him. The ED claimed that it had found “fresh evidence” against the alleged money-laundering activities of Khan.
Khan, however, rejected the claims made by the ED. “It is the same old case they have called me for…I have spent four years and eight months in jail without any charge framed against me. Till date, the ED has not framed charges against me. There is not a single case against me in any court apart from those filed by the ED,” Khan said.
Khan was arrested in March 2011, charged with laundering $8 billion, an estimate that saw a drastic fall in the years following his imprisonment. The High Court granted him bail in August 2015 as he had already undergone more than half of the imprisonment under the strict Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In February, the ED raided Khan’s nine premises across six cities, including his house in plush Koregaon Park in Pune city, in connection with the money-laundering case. The ED has also issued a notice to attach the properties of Khan.
In May 2014, The Indian Express reported about the finance ministry documents that suggested it had little hope of winning any income tax case or appeal pending against Khan. The claim of $8 billion had been based on a letter supposedly written by UBS, a Swiss global financial services company, to Khan on December 8, 2006. In a response to a letter rogatory from the Indian Embassy in Berne, however, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice declared the letter attributed to the UBS as forged.
In 2011, the ED filed a chargesheet in a special court, alleging, “The said account (in SBC) was used to transfer $93 million from UBS Switzerland. The said amount was brought to India through hawala route.”
The ED sources now claim that the response of the Swiss Federal Office was “vague” and did not answer a number of issues connected to Khan. “We have fresh leads in the case,” said a source in the ED.
Meanwhile, Khan claimed to be suffering from severe health problems and said he was being harassed by the investigative agencies.
“How I came out of jail only God knows. My son, who is 13, has not been to school for four years now,” Khan said.
Meanwhile, Khan is also facing trial in a case filed against him by the Pune passport office for allegedly giving false information while renewing his passport in 2004. The ED had moved an application to transfer this case registered under the Passport Act to a Special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court in Mumbai.
Khan’s lawyer Prashant Patil said, “I opposed to the application saying it’s not a predicate offence and hence cannot be transferred. The court has appreciated the merits of the matter and rejected the transfer application moved by Enforcement Directorate.” The court ruled in this case on Saturday.