What really helped the Enforcement Directorate (ED lay its hands on politicians linked to Hasan Ali Khan was Kolkata-based businessman Kashinath Tapuriah’s brisk name-dropping at the time of his arrest.
Khan and Tapuriah are currently in judicial custody in connection with the money-laundering case that the agency is investigating.
Sources in the ED said while Khan had kept his mouth firmly shut during a major part of the questioning, Tapuriah had quickly dropped names of politicians to show off his contacts. This, officials say, helped the agency nail those suspected to be involved with Tapuriah and Khan either directly for money laundering or for facilitating it.
An ED official, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media said, following Tapuriah’s interrogation, the agency questioned Congress leader Amlendu Pandey.
“Even information about the involvement of Puduchhery lieutenant governor Iqbal Singh in expediting Khan’s passport from the Patna passport office came while we questioned Tapuriah,” the official said. Incidentally, Singh had also helped expedite Tapuriah’s and his wife Chandrika’s passport applications at the Kolkata passport office.
The official said during questioning, Pandey confirmed Singh’s involvement in Khan’s passport case, as he [Pandey] had was the one who had sought the lieutenant governor’s help for the same.
He added that Tapuriah had also mentioned the names of a late senior politician from Andhra Pradesh, and two other politicians whose names are currently being kept secret.
ED officials also said Tapuriah and Khan who were one time friends and accomplices have now turned enemies.
“During the first confrontation between Khan and Tapuriah, the two got into a voluble fight in our office," the official said.
He said the two blamed each other for the wrongdoings while claiming innocence for themselves.
Meanwhile, the ED on Tuesday again questioned Tapuriah at its Nariman Point office. The ED had sought the court’s permission to question Tapuriah, who is in judicial custody, on Monday and Tuesday, from 10am to 5.30pm.