M A I N   N E W S

Hasan Ali Khan surrenders after SC cancels his bail

New Delhi/Mumbai, March 17
Pune-based stud-farm owner Hasan Ali Khan surrendered before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai tonight after the Supreme Court cancelled his bail in a money laundering case and remanded him to the four-day ED custody.

“I respect the SC's order,” said Khan, while entering the ED premises in south Mumbai. The SC had earlier in the day remanded Khan in the custody of the ED for four days after pulling up the trial court judge, who had granted bail to Khan while dismissing the agency's plea for his remand.

The apex court initially remanded Khan, 53, in the ED's custody for 72 hours but extended it to four days following a plea made by Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam. A Mumbai court had on March 11 rejected the ED's plea for custodial interrogation of Khan on the ground that the agency had not gathered sufficient evidence or made any case to justify its plea for Khan's custodial interrogation.

Khan is also facing a Rs 70,000 crore tax demand notice from the Income-Tax Department as well as the ED probe. The ED had arrested Khan on March 7 after being pulled up by the SC for its failure to ensure his custodial interrogation. But the trial court had let him off. The apex court cited “extraordinary circumstances” of the case in staying the order of Mumbai Principal Sessions Judge ML Tahaliyani on March 11 granting bail to Khan.

A Bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar said it was “deeply disturbed” at the manner in which the trial court judge had rejected the ED's contention and granted bail while giving a lengthy order for it. The Bench while staying the trial court's order and wondered, “Why has the learned judge written so much?” “The order passed by the learned judge has created an extraordinary situation, which may ultimately frustrate the entire investigation. Having regard to the extraordinary situation, complexity of the issue and the magnitude of the case, we deem it fit to stay the order,” the Bench said.

The order was passed after the ED stung by the Mumbai court's rejection of its plea for custodial interrogation moved the apex court.

Earlier, making a forceful plea on behalf of the ED, the Solicitor General submitted to the court that the trial court judge had exceeded his brief and passed an unusual order for granting bail to Khan, despite neither the accused nor his counsel making any plea for it. — PTI 





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