ED gets Centre’s nod to grill Lt-Guv
The Enforcement Directorate has been given the go-ahead to record Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh’s statement but the team may have to travel to the union territory to get his version.delhi Updated: Apr 19, 2011 23:39 IST
The Enforcement Directorate has been given the go-ahead to record Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh’s statement but the team may have to travel to the union territory to get his version.
The Lt Governor’s name had figured during the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation when investigators found that Singh had recommended expeditious issuance of a passport to Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan in 1997.
Singh was then a Rajya Sabha MP from the Congress party. Khan — who is suspected of being involved in money laundering — had got the recommendation through a Bihar Congress leader Amlendu Pandey.
Soon after the formal clearance came from the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday, the Lt Governor said he would cooperate fully with the authorities and was open to any investigation.
Singh met home minister P Chidambaram on Monday where he offered to face ED officers to respond to their queries. "The LG is willing to make a statement to the Enforcement Directorate," Chidambaram had said.
14 yrs on, Passport courier missing
While Puducherry lieutenant governor Iqbal Singh is suspected by investigators to have arranged for alleged money launderer Hasan Ali Khan’s passport, the man who supposedly picked up the document on Singh’s behalf is missing for 14 years.
‘Ashok Kumar’, who is reported to have done the legwork for Singh, then a Rajya Sabha member, introduced himself as personal security officer to the MP. He collected the document from the Patna regional passport office in April 1997 after furnishing a six-digit badge number (employee number), which later turned out to be false. He has remained untraced to date.
“Singh has said he requested the then external affairs minister IK Gujral (just before he became PM) to clear Hasan Ali’s passport on compassionate grounds at the behest of Congress leader Amalendu Pandey. But if the constable who collected the passport on behalf of Khan is traced and turns out to be Singh’s PSO (then), a connection between Singh and Khan will emerge,” said a source closely working with one of the investigating agencies in the case.
“Enforcement Directorate officials are expected to touch this aspect of the case when they interrogate the lieutenant governor,” he added. (with inputs from Dev Raj in Patna)