The Supreme Court Tuesday reserved for Sep 29 its order on the centre’s plea seeking cancellation of the bail granted to alleged money launderer Hasan Ali Khan, who is described as the country’s top tax evader.
Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar reserved the order after hearing arguments from the two sides.
Hasan Ali, who is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for allegedly stashing away money in tax havens, was granted bail by the Bombay High Court Aug 12.
The Supreme Court Aug 16 stayed the high court order.
Appearing for the ED, senior counsel A. Mariarputham said an observation in the high court judgment would constrain the special court from proceeding against Hasan Ali in other cases.
The court was told that the high court observed that unless the investigation into the money laundering cases was completed, Hasan Ali’s other case involving the Nizam’s jewels and that of securing another passport by allegedly furnishing fake documents could not be proceeded with.
Seeking apex court’s clarification on this aspect, Mariarputham said that in the light of the high court’s observation or findings, the “trial court may not proceed and even if it proceeded the trial judge may not be able to frame charges”.
The senior counsel said that the apex court should clarify that “the observations may not hamper the trial and it (trial court) need not await for the completion of investigation in PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) case”.
As Mariarputham told the court that Hasan Ali brokered the deal involving the sale of Nizam’s jewels, the court said that if there was “the knowledge of the fact that it was a stolen property only then it would amount to an offence, otherwise mere brokering of a deal would not amount to offence”.
Appearing for Hasan Ali, counsel Ishwariprasad A. Bagaria told the court that his client never misused his liberty to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.
“It is not the case of the prosecution that since 2009 I (Hasan Ali) have contacted any of the prosecution witnesses or influenced them or violated any term or condition of bail,” Bagaria told the court.
The court was told that there was no merit in ED’s case and it was based on the suppression of facts