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Hasan Ali case: SC raps government
New Delhi, May 12 (IANS):
Published on 12 May. 2011 10:45 PM IST
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The Supreme Court Thursday pulled up the central government for keeping it in the dark about the chargesheet against alleged tax evader Hasan Ali Khan and Kolkata based-businessman Kashinath Tapuria, accused of laundering money to LGT bank in Liechtenstein.
An apex court bench of Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar told Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium that the status report submitted to the court by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) did not say that investigation into the matter was over.
“Why were we not informed that investigation is over and the chargesheet would be filed in a day’s time? In fact, the status report stated that further investigation was going on,” Justice Reddy said.
“It is obvious that you had the chargesheet on May 4 and chose not to inform us,” he added. The status report was filed by the ED in the apex court May 4 and the 900-page chargesheet was filed in the court of special judge in Mumbai May 6. The court asked the Solicitor General if the chargesheet was placed before the High Level Committee (HLC) for scrutiny.
The central government has constituted the HLC under the chairmanship of the secretary, Department of Revenue.
Other members include the deputy director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), directors of the Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of Enforcement, Central Bureau of Investigation, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, director generals of the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), among others. The chairman of the committee was mandated to report to the apex court on the investigations carried out by different departments represented in the HLC.
Gopal Subramanium told the court that the chargesheet was not placed before the HLC, to which Justice Reddy said: “We wanted to create a mechanism (for monitoring). You created your own mechanism. Yet, it (chargesheet) has not been placed before it.”
“Ideally, it should have been placed before the HLC,” Subramanium said.
“Not ideally,” the bench countered. “We are surprised. The fact is that the chargesheet was filed by the ED but without being shown to the HLC.”
The court directed that any further action by Mumbai’s special court on the chargesheet will be subject to the directions of the apex court. The court also reserved its order on the petition by eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani seeking directions to the central government to get back the black money stashed away in LGT bank in Liechtenstein principality of Europe.
Appearing for the petitioner Ram Jethmalani, senior counsel Anil Divan took exception to the language used in central government’s written submission. The submission, while opposing the independent monitoring mechanism, said: “It would be inappropriate to subject a retired judge to assess such complex investigation and may cause inroads into accepted structure of accountability.”
The central government told the court that “experience shows that the appointment of an intervening supervisory functionary may denude the rigorous scrutiny which may need to be brought to bear on the performance of various governmental functionaries.”
Divan said that the ED officer who filed the chargesheet without placing it before the HLC should be hauled up and placed under suspension.

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