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    ED seeks Puducherry Governor in Hasan Ali case

    New Delhi: Puducherry Governor Lt Governor Iqbal Singh is the latest person to come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Hasan Ali case. The ED has asked the Home Ministry for permission to question Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh in connection with the passport issued to Hasan Ali - suspected to be India's biggest tax defaulter.

    Iqbal Singh is alleged to have helped Hasan Ali get his passport while he was the Congress leader in charge of Bihar. Now, as Puducherry governor, he enjoys immunity and therefore the ED must have the Home Ministry's permission to question him.

    Also under the scanner is Uttar Pradesh principal secretary Vijay Shankar Pandey. When Congress was in charge of Bihar, he helped Ali get to Bihar. Now as governor, he enjoys parliamentary immunity.

    The Enforcement Directorate will question Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh and Uttar Pradesh principal secretary Vijay Shankar Pandey in connection with the passport procured by stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan and some investments done by him abroad.

    Sources said summons have been already issued to Iqbal while the same to Pandey will be issued next week following questioning of a Bihar politician Amalendu Pandey by the Directorate in Mumbai.

    They said the two will be questioned with regard to procurement of passport by Ali and some investments that he did at foreign shores.

    The ED is mulling to question Ali's aide Kashinath Tapuria, presently in the agency's custody, after similar leads emerged in the case following the questioning of the politician.

    Pandey was grilled on April 14 by the ED for allegedly procuring passport from Patna for Ali by forging documents.

    The ED, which summoned Pandey to appear before it, had mentioned in its remand application that it was necessary to question Pandey regarding transactions of Khan in Singapore and also to find out the reasons for obtaining the second passport from Patna.

    Ali, Pandey and Tapuria had allegedly travelled to Singapore in 1997 to open an account in the United Bank of Switzerland.

    Ali is accused of massive money-laundering, tax evasion and stashing away huge amounts in foreign banks.

    According to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Hasan Ali and Tapuriahs owe the government about Rs 75,000 crore in taxes.

    Staying with crackdown on corruption Chief Justice SH Kapadia has come down hard on the politician - judiciary nexus. He said, "Political protection should not be given to corrupt judges. We need clean men in black robes. The judiciary should be accountable to the community. There is a need to balance judicial accountability and judicial independence."