The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Puducherry lieutenant governor Iqbal Singh on Monday for questioning over his alleged links with Hasan Ali Khan — an arrested businessman who is said to be India’s biggest money launderer and tax evader.
The ED is also likely to question Uttar Pradesh principal secretary (information) Vijay Shankar Pandey in the same matter. Agency sources said he would be issued summons next week. But the bureaucrat found himself in trouble on Saturday itself as the UP government moved him from the CM’s secretariat to another post.
The names of both Singh and VS Pandey cropped up in Congress leader Amlendu Pandey’s statement to the ED on Thursday. He alleged that it was Singh who expedited Khan’s passport application in Patna in 1997, when he was a Congress MP. The passport was allegedly made using forged documents.
On Saturday, Singh denied having ever met Khan.
But, in a communiqué to home minister P Chidambaram, Singh said Amlendu had approached him on April 4, 1997 for a passport for Khan on humanitarian grounds.
VS Pandey, on his part, said he had not received any communication from the ED and also that he had never met Amlendu.
"(Amlendu) Pandey told me Khan's brother was seriously ill abroad and the latter's presence was essential there. I referred his case to then external affairs minister IK Gujral, who informed me about issuing necessary instructions to the Patna passport office on April 5, 1997," Singh, who was a Rajya Sabha member from 1992 to 1998, said.
"I did not know Khan at all, neither did I ever meet him. I only issued a letter for the passport, believing (Amlendu) Pandey's assertions about Khan's brother. Besides, I did not verify Khan's passport application as I did not know him," Singh said. "I have absolutely no links with Khan. I have never recommended his case for anything afterwards."
Amlendu told the ED that Khan's aide Kashinath Tapuriah got the passport made and took his help for it. Amlendu also travelled with Khan to Singapore in 1997 using the passport made in Patna.
Singh rejected media reports that a police constable named Ashok Kumar, allegedly his personal security officer, collected Khan's passport from the Patna passport office, saying no one by that name was ever deployed with him. The ED will question VS Pandey in connection with Khan's passport and funds in banks abroad. Sources said VS Pandey was in touch with Amlendu.