Takes note of reports of his alleged links with arms dealers

Taking note of reports of Pune-based Hasan Ali Khan's alleged links with arms dealers and people associated with terror activities, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to indicate whether he could be booked under the anti-terror law.

A Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar, hearing a petition filed by the former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, on the Centre's alleged inaction to retrieve black money stashed away abroad, asked Solicitor-General (SG) Gopal Subramaniam to explain the government's stand at the next hearing on March 18.

Earlier, Mr. Subramaniam submitted status reports of the Enforcement Directorate explaining the searches carried out at Mr. Khan's residence in Pune and at several other places leading to his arrest. The SG said the court's concern expressed on the last occasion was fully justified. He said he had advised the government that this was a fit case for custodial interrogation, and investigation was moving in the right direction.

Justice Reddy told the SG that there were reports about a fake passports case against Mr. Khan. “You [Centre] examine whether the CBI can undertake this probe. There are [media] reports suggesting that he is linked to international arms dealer [Adnan Khashoggi]. We feel there is possibly a national security angle. Therefore, can't this matter be probed under provisions other than the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Passport Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act? Can you invoke anti-terror law, perhaps under the state law? We feel these are far more serious than Income-Tax violation.”

The SG said the government would consider the court's suggestion and also whether even the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act could be invoked against Mr. Khan.

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