New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Centre to consider invoking anti-terror and stringent IPC charges against Pune stud owner Hasan Ali Khan, accused of massive money laundering and tax evasion and suspected of having links with arms dealers and terror-related activities.
A bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar also sought the government's response for entrusting to the CBI the forged passport case against Khan on the ground that investigations were not going in the right direction.
The bench suggested invoking of anti-terror laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other stringent provisions of the Indian Penal Code owing to Khan's alleged links with various arms dealers including Adnan Khashogi and terror-related activities, impinging national security.
"There is angle relating to his links with arms dealers. There is a terror angle. Threat to national security. Whether these facts which are emanating from investigation in the case registered under PML, FEMA, Passport Act, would they attract any penal consequences? the bench queried, while directing the Centre to explore its suggestions.
Senior counsel Anil Divan expressed apprehension over threat to Khan's life as he had enough material to expose the powers-that-be behind the various murky deals and wanted the Government to ensure his security.
The bench expressed displeasure that the probe against Khan in the fake passport case had not proceeded in the right direction with right speed "as nothing is moving despite the magnitude of the issue."
It asked the Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to personally supervise the ongoing investigation and place a status report covering the concerns on national security expressed by the petitioner.
The court issued the directions while hearing a public interest litigation filed by eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani, seeking recovery of huge corpus of black money stashed in banks abroad by Indians.
Khan was arrested last night by the Enforcement Directorate which carried out searches at his Pune home and that of his associates' premises in several cities ahead of today's Supreme Court deadline.
53-year-old Ali, first detained in Pune, was later taken to Mumbai and grilled by the ED for nearly six hours before being put under arrest.
The ED placed a status report on Khan's statements recorded during interrogation.
Concerned over allegations that the probe was being scuttled by vested interests, the bench asked government to furnish details of the four officials abruptly transferred midway during the investigation.