Urges Supreme Court to set up SIT

The former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction with the progress of the Enforcement Directorate probe into the tax evasion case against Hasan Ali Khan, and wanted the Supreme Court to constitute a Special Investigation Team.

Senior counsel Anil Divan, appearing for Mr. Jethmalani, said media reports suggested that documents seized from Mr. Khan were forged and there appeared to be a continuous cover-up.

Mr. Divan said the government was going ahead with adjudication proceedings against Mr. Khan and if that was completed there would be nothing left in the case. Three officials in the ED who had been handling Mr. Khan's case were transferred and the court must find out the reason.

Recalling the death in jail of Ashutosh Asthana, the key accused in the provident fund scam case, Mr. Divan expressed apprehension that Mr. Khan's life was also in grave danger in prison as he knew the truth. One of the Deputy Commissioners of Police, Mumbai, Ashok Deshbharatrar, was shifted for the only reason that he probed the passport case against him, counsel said.

Solicitor-General (SG) Gopal Subramaniam said the three officials were not transferred; they were on deputation and were repatriated on completion of deputation. When Justice Reddy asked whether they could be re-inducted, the SG said he would find out from the ED Director and if necessary they would be brought back. On Mr. Deshbharatrar, the SG said he would find out the correct position and if need arose, he would also be re-inducted into the probe.

The Bench asked the ED to file further status reports in 10 days and inform the court whether the officials who were earlier conducting the probe could be brought back.

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