A three-member panel was set up in August to question Pune-based businessman Hassan Ali Khan after Enforcement directorate found fresh evidence of money laundering and cross-border transactions done by him, reports The Indian Express.
The Hasan Ali case goes back to May 5, 2007 when searches were conducted at his various properties, wherein a laptop was recovered containing scanned copies of documents stating that Ali had accounts in UBS Zurich, with deposits in excess of US $8 billion. When contacted, Hasan Ali’s lawyer denied the allegations and said he had no Swiss bank accounts. However, Khan was arrested by ED in March 2011. In May 2011, ED formally charge sheeted Khan and his associate Kashinath Tapuriah under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. As per the Ed lawyers, Khan had laundered money for international weapons dealer Adnan Khashoggi several times.
In January 2007, the Swiss Competent Authority had informed the Indian government that the UBS bank statement reflecting a deposit of $8 billion in Khan’s account was forged but said Khan had a limited banking relationship with UBS AG Zurich.
The fresh round of questioning from Ali comes after the Incom eTax department submitted a letter of the Swiss Competent Authority in a tax tribunal in Mumbai in June 2015.
The letter dated December 28, 2013 was given in response to a query posted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) regarding Khan’s bank accounts.
“The Switzerland Authority has certified that out of 404 pages, 403 pages (containing bank account statement of Hassan Ali Khan) are true, except one page incorporating transaction dated 08.12.2006 of deposit of 8 billion dollars, which was forged,” the tax department told the tribunal, reports The Indian Express.
“Khan has already been questioned by officials three times this year, the latest was in August when he was questioned for four days,” said a source. The investigation against Khan is also being monitored by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money.
So far, ED is probing Khan for alleged laundering of $93 million acquired by him in 1997 and $700,000 acquired in 2006 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)
Denying any new developments, Khan’s lawyer Prashant Patil said, “We are not aware of any such developments in the matter. There is no official communication from the ED regarding any such development. But it is quite amusing that since 2007, the agencies are only carrying out investigation without an iota of evidence directly or indirectly connecting Mr Hasan Ali Khan to any offence under provisions of PMLA Act . He has lost his health and liberty to a so-called investigation which is eternal in nature and is never-ending. ED does not even bother to frame charges u/s 228 of CrPC before the Special PMLA Court at Mumbai, they are only interested in making allegations without any prima facie evidence. This is an ideal case of pre-trial conviction.”