ED grills Puducherry Lt governor | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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ED grills Puducherry Lt governor

mumbai Updated: Apr 27, 2011 01:36 IST
HT Correspondent

A team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials from Mumbai questioned Puducherry lieutenant governor Iqbal Singh for more than 10 hours on Tuesday.

A four-member team reached Puducherry on Monday and made arrangements to video record Singh's statement. They were later joined by Mumbai ED's deputy director Sameer Bajaj who led the questioning.

Singh's questioning began at 10am at Raj Niwas and was asked around 50 questions.

An ED official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media said most of the questions were related to Singh expediting Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan's passport application at Patna Regional Passport office in 1997 and his relations with Khan, his (Khan's) associate Kashinath Tapuriah and Congress leader from Bihar Amlendu Pandey.

During his questioning recently, Pandey told the ED that he had approached Singh to get Khan's passport application expedited.

Subsequently, Singh - in his communiqué to union home minister P Chidambaram - said Pandey approached him on April 4, 1997 for an issuance of passport to Khan from Patna passport office on humanitarian grounds. Singh was a Rajya Sabha member from 1992-1998.

The ED also discovered that Singh helped expedite the passport applications of Tapuriah and his (Tapuriah's) wife Chandrika at Kolkata passport office. "We wanted to know if he had any business relations with Khan, Tapuriah and Pandey," the official said.

He added that the agency also wanted to verify Singh's statement (communiqué to Chidambaram) that he never knew Khan.

The passport from Patna was allegedly made using forged documents. The regional passport officer in Patna had, in November last year, lodged a first information report (FIR) against Khan for submitting fake residential proof to get the passport in 1997. Khan had travelled to Singapore with Tapuriah and Pandey (in 1997), using this passport, to open a bank account.