The manner in which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) presented its case to seek the remand of Hasan Ali Khan casts doubt on whether the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) will hold in a court of law in future.
Khan was released on bail on Friday with the special PMLA court observing that not even a prima facie case could be made out against him.
Advocate Sujay Kantawala, who has handled cases pertaining to Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said the strong observations made by the court virtually demolished any chance of success at the trial if any. “It is shocking the manner in which such a sensitive case with such huge international ramifications has been handled at the investigation level and consequently at the remand stage,” Kantawala said.
“This reveals the pathetic state of affairs and the incompetence of the prosecutors,” he added.
Advocate IP Bagaria, Khan’s defence lawyer, said the ED would not have any material to go for a trial. “The material that they have till now does not even help establish a prima facie offence,” he said.
Advocate Ramakant Gaur, also defence lawyer for Khan, said, “Only if they get further evidence can they go ahead with prosecution.”
Advocate Ravi Hirani, who has earlier handled PMLA cases, said the ED did not have any proper document or statement to involve Khan in the case.
Advocate Nilesh Pawaskar, however, had a different view. “Refusing custody is part of procedure. That cannot preclude the agency from going ahead with the investigation,” he said.
Pawaskar added that after investigation if the ED can gather sufficient evidence, it can file a charge sheet against Khan. “If the court finds it (charge sheet) proper, then the ED can proceed against Khan,” he said.