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The Supreme Court Thursday pulled up the central government for not carrying out the custodial interrogation of the country’s biggest tax evader Hasan Ali and others engaged in money laundering.

“We are asking you a simple question warranting a simpler answer – why these are not being interrogated in custody,” asked an apex court bench of Justice B.Sudarshan Reddy and Justice S.S.Nijjar during hearing on a petition by senior lawyer Ram Jethamalani seeking directions to the government to take steps to bring back the black money stashed away by Indian citizens in foreign banks.

“Why no custodial interrogation of these people (we will not name them) about which you have the information. Names are with you. Names are before us,” the apex court asked the Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian.

The court further asked who was preventing the custodial interrogation of these people.

Why can’t investigating agencies moving against those engaged in money laundering as it acts in the case of a common man, it said.

“Mr. Solicitor General, do you think that this man (Hasan Ali) deserves all freedom and seeks dates from the directorate of of enforcement and still does not appear and seeks more dates. Will you extend same facility to a person accused of lesser crimes?” the court asked Subramamnian.

“What the hell is going on in the country. You shoot down people for violation of prohibitory orders. It is happening everyday,” the court said.

The court also took exception to the removal of certain officers who were engaged in the investigations into money laundering cases, midway through the probe. The court asked the central government to tell it about the specific instances.

Adjourned the hearing till next Tuesday, the court asked the government as to whether it would carry out the custodial interrogation of Hasan Ali and others and its stand on the officers who were removed midway through the investigation into money laundering cases. The court also asked if it would require the court to appoint an officer under whose supervision these interrogations would be carried out.

Meanwhile, senior counsel Anil Diwan, appearing for Jethmalani, said that the government was employing every twist and trick to delay investigation into the money laundering cases.

Jethmalani alleged that this was happening because this money belonged to the “rulers” of this country.

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