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Hasan Ali arrested after SC cancels bail

New Delhi: Setting aside the lower court order granting bail to Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali, the Supreme Court on Thursday remanded him to four days custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for further questioning.

Hasan Ali, who is under scanner for tax evasion and money laundering, was arrested by the ED officials in Mumbai shortly after a Supreme Court bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar passed the order cancelling his bail.

The two-member bench had earlier chided the central government for failing to subject Khan and other alleged money launderers to custodial interrogation.

In pursuant of the apex court’s direction, the ED had moved a remand application before the court of Principal Sessions Judge M L Tahaliyani on March 11, which was rejected on the ground that the agency could not gather sufficient material in justification of its plea.

Trial court judge Tahaliyani, while rejecting the agency’s plea for Hassan Ali Khan’s 14-day custodial Interrogation, also granted him bail after observing contents of some of its “confidential” documents were “available in Wikipedia”.

The Pune-based businessman is under scanner for evading tax and not replying to Rs 70,000 crore tax demand notice from the Income-Tax Department as well as the ED.

The ED had arrested 53-year-old Khan on March 7 after being pulled up by the Supreme Court for its failure to ensure his custodial interrogation.

While rejecting the ED’s remand application, judge Tahaliyani had observed that had it had failed to back its charges in a money laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

“No material evidence has been presented by the ED that shows any scheduled offence has been committed by Khan,” Tahaliyani had observed, ordering that Khan be enlarged on conditional bail.

He, however, barred Khan from leaving the city for the next five days during which he was directed to report to the ED office every day.

The court had also rejected the argument that USD 7,00,000 was transferred from Khan’s Sarasin Bank account in Switzerland to the account of S K financial services based in United Kingdom maintained by Barclays Bank London through Citi bank New York and accepted defence lawyer I P Bagadia’ s contention that the account holder was one H A Kahn and not Khan (Hasan Ali Khan).

On the charge that Khan had hoarded USD 8 billion in UBS, Switzerland, something which the bank has denied, the Mumbai court had said there was no material to show that money was transferred to UBS and that tainted money was shown as untainted.

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