The lack of originals of the documents placed before the special court while seeking the remand of Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan proved to be a major decider as the court refused to give credence to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) arguments.
The agency was also left embarrassed when it had to accept it had not taken any steps to confirm the veracity of the documents it received from independent agencies outside India.
The special court, which on Thursday, had heard both the prosecution and defence while hearing the former’s plea for Khan’s remand, sought answers when it resumed on Friday. Right at the outset, the court questioned the authenticity of the documents placed before it.
Special judge under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) ML Tahaliyani questioned the ED about the authenticity of documents that the Income Tax (I-T) claims to have found at Hasan Ali’s residence during the raids. It had handed over the documents to ED, which placed it before the court while seeking the remand. The prosecution said they had panchnamas for the same and said they were willing to place them before the court if asked to do so.
ED had claimed that one of the Letter Rogatory (LR) obtained from the US confirmed the transfer of US$ 7 lakh from Khan’s Sarasin Bank to the account of SK Financial Services, UK, maintained by Barclay’s Bank through Citibank, New York. The court, however, said that there was a contradiction. While referring to a communication received from UBS bank, Zurich, which spoke about a certain transaction, the court asked if the agency had contacted a competent authority in Switzerland to verify the authenticity of the document. The ED told the court that it was not relying on the said communication.
The court said the documents submitted by ED were contradictory in nature. While one document showed three accounts (two in Khan’s name and one in his wife Rheema’s name) were operational, another document stated otherwise.