The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed the bail plea of the Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan held on money laundering charges. The Court, while dismissing the bail plea, reprimanded him and directed him to approach the lower court. He is presently in judicial custody.
“After wasting [a] lot of time on hearing this [bail] application, it has been noticed that the applicant had filed bail application in the Special Court and later withdrew it. The litigant must go to the lowest court,” Justice R.C. Chavan said.
Hasan Ali had earlier applied for bail before the Special Judge under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Meanwhile, he also applied for bail in the High Court and withdrew the bail application from the Special PMLA court.
“What is the warrant of withdrawal of bail application in the Special Court?” Justice Chavan asked, when Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata brought it to the notice of the court.
When Hasan Ali's counsel Bagaria said that he approached the High Court because there was no Public Prosecutor according to the required notification in the lower court, the court stated that it found the reason “unsustainable” and “unimpressive.” “The Prosecution does not argue for you. You argue for yourself. If there is no Public Prosecutor, that is the Prosecution's problem. The Special Judge will look into it,” Justice Chavan said.
He also refused to entertain Mr. Bagaria's plea that the Special Judge be directed to hear the matter within a week. The Court said that the Special Judge would decide on the matter expeditiously.
After the proceedings went on for more than 45 minutes, the court said that it was not aware that Mr. Hasan Ali had withdrawn the application from the lower court and reprimanded Mr. Bagaria for approaching the High Court.
Both Mr. Bagaria and Mr. Khambata earlier argued on the merits of the case. Mr. Bagaria argued that PMLA could not be applied retrospectively and all the offences committed by Hasan Ali were prior to when the PMLA came into force. He also said that there were no proceeds of crime and that if granted bail, he could not tamper with the evidence at this stage of investigation.
Mr. Khambata argued how the PMLA was not retrospective in this case. He said that Hasan Ali might tamper with evidence if granted bail and might even leave the country as he was known to have multiple passports obtained by using forged documents.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will soon file a charge sheet against Hasan Ali. The ED is set to seek permission from the Special Judge under the PMLA to question Hasan Ali for three days. The ED sources said they intend to confront him with the facts they have gathered about the Patna passport case during the interrogation of Congress leader Amlendu Pandey, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Iqbal Singh and one K.C. Singh.