Hasan Ali Khan, accused of stashing away nearly $8 billion abroad, was on Thursday remanded to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody for another day and claimed that the agency was trying to ‘fix’ him.
This is the third time in a row that Principal Sessions Judge M.L. Tahaliyani has given ED the custody of Khan for a day.
On Wednesday, the court had ticked off the ED counsel for coming unprepared to the court. A day later, counsel Niti Punde was replaced by Delhi-based lawyer Rajiv Awasthi.
The new public prosecutor submitted a report in a sealed envelope to the court.
Awasthi said that since the probe is on, he was not in a position to disclose anything in the open court. ‘The investigations are proceeding in a positive direction and we have gathered strong evidences against the accused,’ he said.
Accordingly, the judge reserved his ruling in the matter till Friday.
Awasthi informed the court that Khan had been interrogated 18 times but was not co-operating.
He pointed out that the report, which he had submitted to the court in the sealed cover, has also been submitted to the Supreme Court where the ED will submit its status report by March 18.
Awasthi said that Swiss hotelier Philip Anandraj, who is a partner of Khan, also made a statement and disclosed various offences committed by the accused, including fund transfers from India to various international locations besides other illegal activities.
Arguing against the remand, Khan’s lawyer Ishwar Prasad Bagaria contended that the ED has failed to establish any offence against his client.
He argued that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act came into being in 2005 with no retrospective effect, while his client had committed the alleged offences between 2002-2003.
To this, Awasthi countered by saying that the offences were committed in 2006.
Stepping into the witness box, Khan repeated his claim that he was innocent and that the ED had not produced any original documents. ‘The ED just wants to fix me,’ he alleged.
Khan was brought to Mumbai from Pune late Monday and placed under arrest early Tuesday morning.
The court has permitted that medicines and home food could be given to Khan at the ED’s office during the custody.