Black money: Probing agencies mull pushing for quick trial against Hasan Ali Khan

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New Delhi: Investigating agencies probing alleged black money cases involving Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan are mulling approaching a Mumbai court to expedite the start of a trial against him in a money laundering case pending since 2011.

Sources privy to the plans by the agencies said today the case of alleged tax evasion and laundering of funds against the 60-year-old businessman may be put on fast track.

Agencies including Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police have already filed their complaints of alleged tax evasion against Khan.

The move came against the backdrop of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing black money getting down to business and holding its first high-level meeting in the national capital yesterday.

The name of Khan was mentioned in the Terms of Reference issued by the Government for the specially constituted SIT headed by former Supreme Court Judge M B Shah.

“All issues relating to the matters concerning and arising from unaccounted monies of Hasan Ali Khan and (his aide Kashinath) Tapurias,” it said.

The sources said the designated court in Mumbai will be apprised about the developments in the probe and requested to commnece the trial against Khan and his alleged business associate Kashinath Tapuriah after a money laundering charge sheet was filed against them in May 2011. The trial has not begun yet.

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Some more probe documents and replies from foreign jurisdictions including Switzerland will be placed before the court by the Department of Revenue, the sources said.

The businessman, who is under arrest, came under scrutiny from multiple agencies in 2007 which had been probing him and his associates for various charges of money laundering, income tax evasion and violations of the Passport Act for the last seven years.

Khan was slapped with an Income Tax notice demanding taxes over Rs 50,000 crore apart from attachment orders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to the tune of over Rs 15 crore.

The Terms of Reference for the SIT states that the elite team will investigate all matters “with respect to unaccounted monies being stashed in foreign banks by Indians or other entities operating in India that may arise in the course of such investigations and proceedings.”

The other tasks of the SIT include all investigations already commenced and are pending or awaiting to be initiated, with respect to any other known instances of the stashing of unaccounted monies in foreign bank accounts by Indians or other entities operating in India.

The SIT will also ensure that the matters are investigated, proceedings initiated and prosecutions conducted with regard to criminality and/or unlawfulness of activities that may have been the source for such monies, as well as the criminal and/or unlawful means that are used to take such unaccounted monies out of and/or bring such monies back into the country and use of such monies in India or abroad, the Terms of Reference said.

It shall “also be charged with the responsibility of preparing a comprehensive action plan, including the creation of necessary institutional structures that can enable and strengthen the country’s battle against generation of unaccounted monies and their stashing away in foreign banks or in various forms domestically.”

The panel has been empowered “to further investigate even where charge sheets have been previously filed and that the SIT may register further cases and conduct appropriate investigations and initiate proceedings, for the purpose of bringing back unaccounted monies unlawfully kept in bank accounts abroad.”

The SIT will keep the apex court informed about all major developments by filing periodic status reports in this regard, the government notification said.