NEW DELHI: Making a fresh move to speed up the alleged money laundering and black money case against Hasan Ali Khan, the Enforcement Directorate today conducted searches in half-a-dozen cities on the premises of the Pune-based stud farm owner and others associated in the case.
The agency, which has booked Khan and few of his alleged associates under criminal charges of money laundering in 2011, swooped down on multiple city locations including those in Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon and Kolkata.
"Searches are on at nine places in six cities in Hasan Ali case," an ED official said, adding about 30 officials are involved in the operation.
Sources said the action has come about now as the agency wants to revive the case and bring to book additional evidences so that a trial against him in a Mumbai court could be initiated and the case is brought to its logical conclusion and a verdict is obtained.
They said ED Director Karnal Singh recently held a high-level meeting in this regard after which the Mumbai zonal office of the agency was asked to lead the operation.
It is also understood that the agency has got "fresh leads" in the case, including by way of help from foreign jurisdictions.
Khan, who was jailed for a long time under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was released on bail in August last year after which he has been living at his residences in Mumbai and Pune.
The case, also being probed by the Income Tax department and few state police units for various IPC offences, is also important for the agencies to crack as Khan is the only entity named as an individual in the Terms of Reference of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money that was notified by the government last year.
Khan came under the scrutiny from multiple agencies including the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police in 2007 which had been probing him and his associates for charges of money laundering, income tax evasion and violations of the Passport Act.
He was slapped with an Income Tax notice demanding taxes over Rs 50,000 crore and it was claimed to be the biggest individual case of black money stashed abroad and also that of the highest tax evasion by an individual in the country.
While the I-T department raised a tax arrear demand of Rs 50,345.73 crore on Khan, ED registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for allegedly stashing away USD eight billion of unaccounted money in foreign banks.
ED is also probing Khan and others for alleged forex violations.
A trial in this case, for money laundering offences, is pending in a Mumbai court since 2011.
In 2012, the Finance Ministry had informed Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that recovery of tax arrears from Khan is not possible despite attaching his known movable and immovable assets.
The Revenue Department had said that as per existing guidelines, recovery through sale of attached properties can be made only after the decision of appeal filed before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which is also ongoing.
Khan, his associate Kashinath Tapuriah and eight others have been named in the "top ten individual defaulters" for Income Tax assessment year 2009-10.
Tapuriah owes government Rs 602.80 crore in taxes. Late Harshad Mehta (12,719.14 cr), A D Narrotam (Rs 5,781.86 cr), Hiten P Dalal (Rs 4,200.04 cr), Jyoti H Mehta (Rs 1,739.57 cr), Ashwin S Mehta (Rs 1,595.51 cr), B C Dalal (1,535.89 cr), S Ramaswamy (Rs 1,122.48 cr) and Uday M Acharya (Rs 683.22 cr) are also mentioned in the list released by the Finance Ministry in 2011.
A huge interest on this amount raised against Khan too has been adding up over the years.