Posted by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
Updated: December 19, 2020, 11:39:52 PM
Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan, who has been exposed to two money laundering cases, was interviewed by enforcement officials (ED) for three consecutive days from Thursday to Saturday at his Pune residence.
Prashant Patil, the attorney representing Khan, claimed this was “another episode in decades of harassment by government agencies”.
An ED team visited Khan’s home in Koregaon Park on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and questioned him about the two money laundering cases. In one of these two cases, among others, Khan’s wife Rheema is charged.
Patil said, “ED officers questioned him for almost eight to ten hours every day. The survey related to allegations in the Special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) case of 2011 and in another case of the Enforcement Directorate of 2017. “
The now 65-year-old Khan made national headlines in 2007 when it was revealed that he owed the government more than Rs.34,000 in taxes. The Income Tax Department had estimated his income for the six year period between 2001 and 2007 at over Rs.1.1 billion and a tax liability of approximately Rs.34,000 billion. He was accused of parking huge sums of this money at Swiss banks on the hawala route.
In addition to two cases in which the ED is investigating PMLA, he is also facing a Central Bureau of Investigation case in which he, along with some government officials, was named as a suspect of criminal conspiracy and corruption.
Khan was also interrogated a number of times by the CBI in connection with the case. He is also a defendant in a case in Pune where he is accused of having forged passports.
After the alleged discussion between Khan and Philip Anandraj, a Swiss-based hotelier, about buying a hotel in Switzerland, the IT department searched his residence in January 2007.
Among other things, the IT staff found a letter in Anandraj’s laptop, apparently issued by the Union Bank of Switzerland, mentioning that an account in Khan’s name had deposits of 8 billion US dollars (about 37,000 rupees).
During the subsequent investigation, however, the Swiss authorities found that all of these documents were forged.
Following the raids, the IT department rated Khan from 2001-02 to 2007-08, assessing his total income over that period at a staggering 110,412,68,85,303 Rs (over 1.1 lakh crore). Based on the above assessment, the department imposed a tax of approximately 34,000 rupees. The assessment made by IT became one of the reasons behind the money laundering cases against Khan by the enforcement agency.
While the process on the money laundering cases has not yet started, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal issued a ruling in February 2016 almost entirely overturning the assessment of Khan’s alleged foreign income and referring the case back to the appraiser, following further investigation in this matter.
As a result of the Tribunal’s ruling, the only tax liability confirmed against Khan is Rs 3-4 crore for an income of Rs 10 crore versus Rs 34,000 crore for an income of Rs 1.1 crore crore. Khan has also appealed to the PMLA court in Mumbai for an expedited trial. He is “in extremely poor health”.
Following the questioning on Saturday, his attorney, Patil, spoke to The Indian Express: “The latest questioning is yet another episode of decades of harassment from government agencies. To date, the ED and CBI have not been able to bring prima facie evidence against Mr. Khan. The fundamental question here after 14 years of investigation is, if Mr. Khan is exposed to two money laundering cases, where is the money? Mr. Khan has lost both kidneys, he has lost his health, and his family is isolated and shunned by society. “
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