The Bombay high court on Friday granted bail to alleged money launderer and tax evader Hasan Ali Khan as the prosecution could not establish his offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Hasan Ali collapsed in the courtroom after the hearing of his bail plea. A doctor had to be called inside the courtroom to attend to him.
"Mr Khan has been granted bail by justice Abhay Thipse against the surety of Rs 500,000. He has been asked to deposit his passport and not leave Mumbai or Pune without the written permission of the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) investigation officer," Khan's lawyer IP Bagaria told IANS.
The court observed that the ED had not been able to establish a case of money laundering against Hasan Ali and hence no offence could be made out against him under the PMLA.
"The judge observed that the mere existence of a bank account in a foreign bank is not money laundering," Bagaria said.
Hasan Ali was taken into custody by the ED on March 17 after the Supreme Court cancelled the bail granted to him by a trial court.
On March 21, the apex court ordered his custody to the ED for an additional three days.
Among other things, he is suspected to have stashed away around $8 billion in Swiss bank accounts, transferring cash and assets out of the country through dubious means and evading taxes on income with a suspected liability of over Rs 40,000 crore.
The Bombay high court had on Wednesday exempted his wife Rheema from appearing before a special court that launched criminal proceedings against her.
On the basis of a complaint filed by the ED for non-appearance before the agency despite summons, the PMLA court had issued proceedings against Rheema June 17.
The court, however, directed the special court to decide whether Rheema should appear before the ED within four weeks.