The Supreme Court has sought to know from the Centre why Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan, served with an income tax notice for Rs 71,848 crore, was not booked under the Money Laundering Act, 2002.
“Why has no action been taken under the Act,” a three-judge bench asked during hearing on a petition filed by jurist Ram Jethmalani and five others, accusing the government of doing nothing to get back Rs 70 lakh crore allegedly stashed in foreign banks.
The query came after counsel Anil B. Divan, appearing for the petitioners, charged the government with protecting some powerful individuals who were allegedly using Khan and his wife Rheema as their proxies and not booking him under the 2002 Act.
Quoting a newspaper report, Divan said the PM himself had admitted to existence of black money and promised to bring it back if voted back to power. He wondered why “not even a single individual has been apprehended or interrogated by the government in the last five years”.
On behalf of the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium demanded dismissal of the petition, saying it was based on news reports. He said the petitioners wanted to know of action taken by the government, which has already been furnished and the I-T Department is acting on the information received from Germany.
Khan hadn’t filed tax returns from 2000-01 to 2006-07 and in January 2007, the I-T Department raided his and his associate Kashinath Tapuria’s Pune premises. They seized documents on Khan’s account with UBS Bank, the Centre’s affidavit said. The court fixed the next hearing for July 28.