ED gets Hasan Ali's custody

Indias biggest tax defaulter pleads innocence before court

ED gets Hasan Ali's custody

Hasan Ali was picked up by the ED from his Pune residence on Monday in connection with alleged massive tax evasions running into thousands of crores of rupees and stashing USD 8 billion in a Swiss Bank account.

He was brought to Mumbai and was formally arrested past midnight under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Later in the day, he was produced before principal sessions judge M L Tahilyani.

 Before entering the court, Hasan Ali got a chance to put in his words to the media. “I am innocent...They are just putting me in trouble. I don’t understand why,” the 53-year old man, who claims to be a scrap dealer, told reporters.

 As soon as the court proceedings began, Tahilyani raised the issue of jurisdiction, saying the matter should have been brought before a magistrate.

 Public prosecutor N Punde said under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, a special court was empowered to conduct the proceedings and hence he had the jurisdiction.

Hasan Ali’s defence lawyer I P Bagadia too concurred with this view, but the court adjourned the hearing till Wednesday after handing over Khan’s remand to the ED.

 The judge will take a view on the issue of jurisdiction to hear the case on Wednesday.

 Hasan Ali pleaded his innocence before the court and filed an application through his counsel who said he wanted to retract his confessions made before ED investigators on Tuesday. Details of his confessions were not known immediately.

 Hasan Ali was put through intense grilling by the ED sleuths for several hours before he was formally put under arrest. He is accused of stashing huge sums of black money in foreign banks including USD 8 billion in UBS in Switzerland, although the bank has denied having any such account.

 In January 2007, the IT raided his residences and came across documents that indicated he had several Swiss banks accounts and billions statshed there. However, the Swiss authorities stated that the so-called account papers were fake or forged.
 It is suspected that a great deal of Hasan Ali’s money came from his links with Khashoggi and his funds in Swiss Banks are the proceeds from weapon sales.

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