Government will follow SC directions on Hassan Ali: Mukherjee

Making it clear that the due process of law would be followed in tackling cases of black money stashed abroad, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said, that alleged tax evader Hassan Ali Khan would not be allowed to escape from the country.

"Hassan Ali has not been allowed to leave the country. Supreme Court directions in this regard will be observed," he said during question hour in the Lok Sabha.

Mukherjee expressed his inability to "hang anyone" on the basis of allegations alone. He added the due process of law was being followed in dealing with cases of black money.

However, it appeared that the finance minister's observation was not heard clearly and members from BJP and Left parties stood up demanding an explanation from him.

As members demanded that the government name persons who have stashed black money in foreign banks public, Mukherjee lost his cool and retorted that a department of his ministry has also raided a CPI(M) leader. "But I cannot hang her. The due process of law has to be followed," he said.

Angered by Mukherjee's sharp riposte members of the Left parties trooped into the well of the house, demanding an apology from the minister. A heated verbal duel between CPI(M) members and Mukherjee followed.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, seated next to Mukherjee, was also taken aback at the remarks and after a gentle nudge from parliamentary affairs minister P K Bansal the finance minister took his seat.

Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House briefly at this juncture.