Pune: Hasan Ali Khan, the man who owes India a whopping Rs. 70,000 crore in taxes, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in Mumbai under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. He will be produced in a court today.
Mr Khan’s arrest late on Monday night came just a day ahead of the Supreme Court’s deadline given to the government to submit its status report on the progress of the case against him.
On Monday, Mr Khan was taken from his home in Pune to the Enforcement Directorate’s Mumbai office, where he was reportedly interrogated for six hours for money-laundering and foreign exchange violations and for financial traces to international arms dealers and smugglers.
Searches at his home in Pune began early Monday morning and lasted eight hours. Raids in cities like Kolkata and Hyderabad were also conducted at properties with links to Mr Khan or some of his business associates.
Mr Khan left his home on Monday evening in one of his Mercedes with his wife Rheema and investigators.
Mr Khan, a stud-farm owner, is alleged by the government to have black money worth 8 billion dollars in Swiss bank accounts. He has steadfastly denied this. “The so-called bank account in Switzerland does not exist…anyone who wants that money, if it exists, is welcome to take it,” dared his lawyer, Ramakant Gaur, on Monday.
At recent hearings, the Supreme Court lost its cool with the glacial pace of investigation by the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate. “He tells the ED he’s unwell and can’t come, you give him another date. What the hell is going on?” asked the judge hearing the case.
Mr Khan, a flashy entrepreneur based in Pune, describes himself as a dealer in scraps. Known for his fancy cars, homes and horses, he acquired a new sort of prominence in January 2007, when the Income Tax department raided Mr Khan’s residences and came across documents that proved he had multiple bank accounts in Switzerland. The Enforcement Directorate then contacted different countries including the UK and the UAE for information on financial transactions made by Mr Khan, which originated in his Swiss bank accounts. Investigating officials say Mr Khan’s businesses cannot justify the sort of wealth he has accumulated.
Mr Khan claims that records of his Swiss accounts are forged. Income Tax authorities have admitted to NDTV that the documents found at Mr Khan’s residences have not been corroborated by Swiss banks.