In fresh trouble for Hasan Ali Khan, police have lodged a case against him and four others for allegedly stealing antiques belonging to the erstwhile Nizams of the princely state of Hyderabad and selling them for Rs 50 lakh.
The Central Crime Station of Hyderabad Police yesterday registered a case against Khan, in jail on alleged money laundering charges, following a complaint by the Enforcement Directorate. Others named in the FIR are his aides Kashinath Tapuriah, a Kolkata businessman, also in jail on charges of money laundering, Philip Anandraj, Nasir Baig, and Ram Bharoj Gupta, a Hyderabad-based jewellery shop owner.
Investigators told PTI that Khan had connived with Nasir Baig, the custodian of Salar Jung Museum, the third largest museum in the country where the alleged offence occurred, and others, to steal the antiques belonging to the family of the Nizams, the native sovereigns of the erstwhile Hyderabad State.
“Baig was custodian of the museum in 1992 and through him Hasan Ali allegedly collected the antiques and in collusion with his other associates sold the antiques and made over Rs 50 lakh,” an investigating officer quoted Khan as having confessed to ED.
The case has been registered under Section 406 (criminal breach of trust), section 420 (cheating), section 379 (theft) and section 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
The officer said Khan had told ED during his interrogation that he dealt in antiques and jewellery of the Nizams displayed at the museum.
The police would write to the museum authorities seeking an inventory of artefacts kept there since its inception and record the statements of officials concerned.
Khan, accused of stashing billions of dollars of black money in overseas accounts, is in judicial custody in Mumbai after being arrested by ED on money laundering charges. He is also facing a Rs 70,000 crore tax demand notice from the Income Tax department.
Established in 1951 by Yousuf Ali Khan, popularly known as Salar Jung III, who served as prime minister to the Nizam of Hyderabad, the museum is considered a cultural treasure trove.