Mumbai: Any economic offence poses a serious threat to the Indian economy, ruled the Bombay High Court recently while refusing relief to the aid of tainted businessman Hasan Ali Khan.

Notably, Khan was arrested in 2011 after a money laundering case filed against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He along with his wife and a businessman from Kolkata were booked in the case.

One of these accused, Vishwanathan Venugopal, who was the working as an account opening officer in an overseas bank had approached a single-judge bench of Justice Sadhana Jadhav challenging the criminal process issued against him.

According to the ED, Venugopal had aided Hasan Ali Khan in opening bank account in the bank and thereby enabling him to conceal the proceeds of the crime.

Having considered the material on record, Justice Jadhav said the ED deserves an opportunity to substantiate their allegations, which can be done only after adducing substantive evidence and the documents collected by it during investigation. "The court cannot be oblivious of the fact that this is an economic offence which is affecting not only an individual but to a society at large.

It affects economic health of the society as well as national economy and therefore, it would not be appropriate to quash the order of issuance of process at this stage," Justice Jadhav observed. The bench further noted that the ED had already recorded Venugopal's statements.

"In any case, it appears that bank officials are also deliberately not cooperating with the Indian government for the reasons best known to them," Justice Jadhav noted. "Economic offences are well manipulated offences, and such offences pose a serious threat to the health of national economy. There is no reason to quash the proceedings or take a different view from that of the special court. Thus, the petition stands rejected," Justice Jadhav held.

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