Apex court pulls up centre on Hasan Ali case

A Bench of justices S Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar expressed its “surprise” over the fact that the ED did not apprise the apex court even though it filed its status report on May 4 just two days before the filing of 9000-page chargesheet on May 6.

The Bench grilled Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium on the issue and directed that the chargesheet filed before the special court would be subjected to the orders passed by the apex court.

“Why did you not mention that chargesheet is going to be filed or it is ready? We were told that the investigation is on,” the court said.

“There is now a committee — details — you furnished us. Tell us whether that committee approved it (chargesheet). Is this the coordinated mechanism,” it added.

The bench also expressed surprise on why charge sheet was not placed before the HLC which was appointed by the government to counter the plea of setting up of SIT to monitor the probe and steps taken by various agencies to bring back money stashed in foreign banks.

At the outset of the proceedings, the Bench started questioning Subramanium, who admitted after seeking details from an official present in the courtroom, that it was not placed before the committee.

“We are surprised. You filed the chargesheet and we read it in newspaper only after two days. Whether we scrutinise it or not, it does not matter. We wanted somebody to look at it,” the court said. Subramanium had earlier informed the Supreme Court that the government had on April 22 set up a 10-member high level committee headed by the Revenue Secretary and comprising heads of different agencies like CBI, IB, Central Board of Direct Taxes and top secretaries of ministries to investigate the generation and outflow of illicit funds in banks abroad by Indians.

During the hearing, the government had consistently opposed constitution of special investigation team as sought in a PIL filed by noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and others, saying that it had already set up a committee for “coordinated mechanism” in the probe against the ill of black money.

“There is no difficulty in subjecting the chargesheet to any kind of scrutiny. It ought to have been placed before the committee,”  said the government’s law officer.

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