The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted searches in at least four locations in Mumbai, including some premises of hawala traders allegedly connected to Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan who has been charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In July, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had issued a notice to Khan directing him to appear before the agency on July 4 and 5 for interrogation in a fresh case filed by it against him for alleged criminal conspiracy and corruption. The case is based on a complaint filed by the ED. According to sources, Khan had requested for an extension from the CBI for appearing before the agency citing poor health.
The CBI’s fresh FIR has charged Khan for “cognizable offence(s)” under Sections 120 B and 420 of the IPC, Sections 13 (2), 13(1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and Section 41(1) (b) of the CrPC.
According to ED sources, while the first complaint did not name any government official or politician associated with Khan (62), the ED probe has now thrown some light on the contacts. The role of certain Income Tax Department officials who probed the case is also under the scanner of the agency, said sources.
Khan’s lawyer in Pune, Prashant Patil, told The Indian Express: “There is no such official confirmation to my client about any such raids being conducted. However, it is the irony of the present case that in the last 10 years, the Income Tax Department and ED miserably failed to provide any prima facie evidence against my client. He lost his health and liberty to these presumptive allegations by the ED that till date have no prima facie basis. If there are allegations of money laundering, where is the money? The agencies have no answer to it. We are not aware of any allegation regarding criminal conspiracy with I-T official or any other government servant. The FIR has been registered by the CBI at the instance of the ED only to cover up the fact that till date, there is no prima facie evidence against Mr Khan. There is no point even talking about any alleged notarised document as the ED, since the past so many years, has not been able to provide any bank details or the account details of Mr Khan that come under the allegation of money laundering.”
He added: “The allegations are from the year 2006-07 and he was arrested in 2011 and kept in jail for no reason for four and a half years. In this time period, they have miserably failed to prove any of the allegations… Where is the proof of any such offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act? The health of Mr Khan is deteriorating every day because of such ruthless harassment.”