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Pondy Lt Governor leaves for Delhi after ED completes grilling

April 27, 2011 00:06 IST
Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh was on Tuesday questioned by the Enforcement Directorate officials for the second successive day over his recommendation for issuing a passport expeditiously to alleged tax evader Hasan Ali Khan after which he left for New Delhi. As the questioning by the ED concluded, Singh left on Tuesday night for Chennai en route to New Delhi, according to Raj Niwas sources.

"The questioning was done by a four-member team of the ED from 12:00 hours to 15:30 hours," Singh's Private Secretary S Srinivasan told mediapersons in Puducherry.

Singh was alone during the questioning, he said, adding he could not confirm whether it was videographed. Asked whether the ED team, which had grilled Singh for nearly five hours on Monday, would come back again or had left Puducherry, Srinivasan said, "I have no information." Police sources said the ED team had left the Union Territory.

Singh was in the eye of a storm for his action as a Congress Rajya Sabha member in 1997 in recommending expeditious issue of passport to Khan, a Pune-based stud farm owner. Singh admitted that he did make such recommendation on humanitarian grounds as he was told that Khan needed to travel abroad to visit his ailing brother. He however claimed he did not know Khan.

The Lt Governor's name surfaced during questioning of Bihar-based Congress leader Amlendu Pandey. The ED action followed clearance from the Prime Minister's Office last week to record Singh's statement on the issue.

Singh is also embroiled in another controversy following the charge that a trust in which his two sons were former members had been given in-principle clearance by the administration to set up a medical college without following due procedures.

Opposition parties have called for a bandh on Wednesday seeking recall of Singh. District authorities have clamped prohibitory orders in Puducherry and Mahe regions for two days from Tuesday following the dawn to dusk bandh call by the Communist Party of India-Marxist, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Bahujan Samaj Party.


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