July 20, 2009 12:41:53 pm
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to respond to a plea that businessman Hasan Ali Khan,against whom the department has registered a complaint under the FEMA for stashing money in foreign banks,should have been interrogated in custody.
The plea was made by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani and others who had filed a PIL accusing government of inaction in bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks.
The bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to respond within two weeks on behalf of the ED and listed the matter after three weeks.
The Solicitor General said that he would seek instructions and respond to the comments made by the petitioners relating to the complaint lodged against Khan,a Pune-based businessman,by the ED.
Senior advocate Anil Divan,appearing for Jethmalani said the complaint filed on December 22,2008 by the Assistant Director of the ED against Khan showed that on December 8,2006,Khan had an amount of over USD 8 billion in his account with UBS AG,Zurich.
This amount,he said,was equivalent to Rs 36,000 crore.
Divan submitted that vigorous investigations could have been undertaken into this aspect.
Divan said that action should have been taken against Khan on money laundering charges.
In the complaint,the ED had also made reference about Khan’s account and money deposited in UBS Singapore.
Besides Jethmalani,five others including former Punjab DGP K P S Gill and former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap,who are petitioners,have alleged that government was not taking action on the issue.
The six petitioners,who were described by their counsel Divan as “super senior” citizens,had submitted that if the Rs 70 lakh crore,purportedly stashed in foreign banks,were retrieved it would substantially remove poverty in the country and promote its development.
The government had said that the PIL accusing it of inaction was a “wild,reckless and baseless allegation”.
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