Stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, accused of massive money laundering and tax evasion, was detained by the ED which carried out multi-city searches at his Pune home and his associates’ premises cracking the whip to meet tomorrow’s Supreme Court deadline. Hot in pursuit of black money trail after the apex court rap on the government, about a dozen Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials from Mumbai came down to Pune to search the premises of Khan in posh Koregaon Park area this morning and he was taken away for interrogation after searches lasting several hours.
Khan was detained after a search of his premises in Pune by ED officials, sources said.
Sources said searches were carried out at the premises of Khan and his associates at Pune, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
In Kolkata, searches were conducted at the residence of businessman Kashinath Taparia. ED sources told PTI Taparia was an alleged aide of Khan but Taparia claimed he had no ‘partnership’ with him at all.
ED sources said the statement of Khan’s associate and hotelier Philip Anand Raj was being recorded in Delhi. Khan’s lawyer R.K. Gaur said he is being taken to ED’s Mumbai office for further interrogation and to possibly confront him with ‘some documents’.
Gaur however claimed Khan has not been detained and that he was being taken to the ED’s office as part of a ‘routine investigation’.
There was no official word from the ED and media persons waiting outside Khan’s residence were not briefed about the searches. Khan, clad in white kurta and wearing sunglasses, was seen inside a black Mercedes that left the Tulip bungalow located in Valentine Residential Society escorted by ED sleuths in two cars.
Khan’s detention came on the eve of the Supreme Court’s March eight deadline to the government to inform it how it proposed to tackle black money hoarders.
In Kolkata, Regional Director of ED B. Mallick told PTI, “We raided the premises of Kashinath Taparia and his wife this morning and found something”.
Taparia is the brother of late Priyamvada Birla. Both the Taparias were present at the time of the raids, Mallick said. The Supreme Court while blasting the Centre last Thursday for not having the ‘will power’ to act against black money hoarders asked why Khan and others were not subjected to custodial interrogation despite the probe agencies possessing sufficient material against them.
The court while asking “What the hell is going on in this country?” told the Government to inform it by March eight what action it was taking against Khan and other alleged black money hoarders.
The previous searches at Khan’s Koregaon home were in January 2007 when the Income Tax department had raided the premises.