Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hasan Ali produced before court, claims he is innocent

MUMBAI: Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, arrested in connection with alleged massive money laundering, was today produced before a court which remanded him in Enforcement Directorate's (ED) custody for a day.
Principal Sessions Court Judge M L Tahaliyani Khan before whom 53-year-old Khan was produced this afternoon adjourned the proceedings till tomorrow following differences over the issue of his jurisdiction. Khan was arrested by ED sleuths around midnight last night under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Khan told waiting reporters while he was being taken to court that he was "innocent."

"I am innocent...They are just putting me in trouble. I don't understand why," he said.

As soon as the court proceedings began, Tahaliyani 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.

Defence counsel I P Bagadia too concurred with this view, but the Principal Judge adjourned the hearing till tomorrow after handing over Khan's remand to the ED. He will take a view on the issue of jurisdiction to hear the case tomorrow.

Khan, who is also a real estate consultant, earlier in the day pleaded his innocence and filed an application through his counsel who said he wanted to retract his confessions made before ED investigators yesterday. Details of his confessions were not known immediately.

Khan, accused of stashing huge sums of black money in foreign banks including USD 8 billion in UBS in Switzerland, was arrested after prolonged searches at his Pune and Mumbai residences and sustained grilling for several hours.

He was taken to the state-run JJ hospital for a routine medical check-up at around 7 am just hours after his arrest and all medical tests conducted on him showed he was in normal health.

After the series of medical tests that lasted over four hours, doctors have advised the investigators to take Khan back.

"Cardiology and nephrology tests were conducted on the patient. Surgical examination for the abdominal pain was also conducted after which it was found that Ali is fine," T P Lahane, Dean of the hospital, told PTI.

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