The Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) investigation into the financial transactions of Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan, who is behind bars for alleged money laundering and tax evasion, is going global.
Four ED teams will be dispatched to Switzerland, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK) in a month to investigate Khan’s dealings and back accounts there.
They will be armed with letters rogatory, which were issued recently by the special court trying the case. A letter rogatory is a formal request from a court to a foreign court seeking judicial assistance.
The ED hopes these countries will execute the LRs this time around, as Khan has now been chargesheeted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which is a criminal law.
The LRs were also issued in 2009, but were not helpful then as Khan had not yet been booked under PMLA provisions, nor had he been chargesheeted.
What will further bolster ED’s case is that a few first information reports (FIRs) have been registered registered against Khan for passport forgery.
Sources say that the LRs will go to the departments of justice of these countries, which will direct the concerned banks to provide details of Khan's bank accounts.
In Switzerland, Singapore and the UK, ED officials will pore through the transactions made from Khan's accounts in various banks, while in The Emirates, they will investigate companies where Khan has been shown as the chairman. “These companies seem to be nothing but shells to park money abroad,” said an ED official.
Sources say that if the agency gets adequate support from these countries, it will go ahead with sealing Khan's bank accounts there. The ED has already attached Khan's properties in Mumbai.
The ED has booked Khan for allegedly laundering $8 billion (Rs 36,000 crore) abroad. Besides, the income tax (I-T) department in Mumbai has already raised a tax demand of Rs 62,000 crore from him. The I-T first conducted raids on Khan’s assets in January 2007.