Until Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan, facing legal proceedings in a money-laundering case, surrendered to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) late on Thursday night, the agency was caught in a frantic search for him.
The Supreme Court cancelled the bail granted to Khan by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Thursday and granted the ED his custody for four days saying that it was satisfied that documents disclosed that Khan had committed offences under the Act.
The ED had Khan at its Nariman Point office until 1pm – the court had asked him to report to the ED office every day – but he left just before the SC order came. What followed was a dramatic search for the man accused of stashing billions of dollars in a Swiss bank account. Officers from the ED went looking for Khan at a dozen locations. A team visited his flat in Anand Darshan building at Peddar Road, but did not find him there.
“He had come to the ED office as per the special court’s order and he was allowed to go after questioning, but all this happened before the Supreme Court gave its order,” said a senior ED officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, told HT.
The agency also sought the help of the Pune police, who kept a watch on Khan’s house in plush Koregaon Park. The ED also requested the Mumbai crime branch to help then trace Khan. A senior Mumbai police officer confirmed this.
Dressed in a yellow kurta and accompanied by his lawyer, IP Bagadia, Khan surrendered around 10.50pm. “I respect the law,” he said.
The SC stayed the bail granted to Khan by a special court at Mumbai and observed that it was “deeply disturbed” with the way the judge conducted the proceedings. Khan’s second advocate, Ramakant Gaur, said that his client would decide on going for a review after reading the SC’s order. The ED faced severe embarrassment in Khan’s case last week when the special PMLA court rejected the agency’s plea for Khan’s custody and had granted him bail saying that the department had failed to make a case against him.
The city police have also been under fire for letting Khan go in a two-year old fake passports case. The Worli police had arrested Khan in December 2008 for forgery, cheating and procuring fake passports.
The police still haven’t filed a charge sheet in the case because they are waiting for documents from the regional passport offices.