The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the bail Hasan Ali Khan had never applied for and ordered his remand to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for four days of custodial interrogation.
Later, Khan - accused of evading taxes, laundering money and stashing away $8 billion (Rs 36,800 crore) in tax havens - surrendered, but not before giving the ED some anxious moments. He disappeared soon after being questioned at the ED's Mumbai office on Thursday afternoon, shortly before the apex court passed its order.
His lawyer Ramakant Gaur hinted that Khan may ask the court to review its decision.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice B Sudershan Reddy stayed the March 11 order of Special Judge ML Tahaliyani, who had rejected the ED's plea for Khan's remand and granted him bail, despite the absence of a written bail application.
"We're deeply disturbed at the way the proceedings were conducted," the bench said when solicitor general Gopal Subramanium brought this to its notice.
"We are satisfied that the documents prima facie disclose commission of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the respondent (Khan)," the bench said in its order.
The ED had arrested Khan, a Pune-based stud-farm owner and realtor, on March 7 after the Supreme Court passed stinging remarks against the investigators. The Income Tax department has slapped a Rs 70,000-crore tax demand notice on him.
A senior ED officer, on condition of anonymity, told HT that his men were searching for Khan.
"He had come to the ED office as per the special court's order and he was allowed to go after questioning. This happened before the SC passed its order," he said.
A widespread search in Mumbai and Pune failed to locate him. ED sources said they are seeking the help of Mumbai Police's Crime Branch to trace Khan.