M A I N   N E W S

SC gets full black money list
SIT to file status report by Nov 30
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

The documents given

Three categories of documents were handed over to the SC in sealed covers. These are:

A list of 627 bank accounts held by Indians in Geneva, Switzerland
The status report prepared by the government and the SIT on the investigations conducted so far
Government’s correspondence with the French authorities

SIT to handle envelopes

The Bench said the sealed covers will be forwarded to the SC-appointed special investigation team
The covers will be opened only by SIT chief MB Shah or his deputy Arijit Pasayat (both retd SC judges) to protect confidentiality

It is not a question of bowing down. Our intention is to bring back the black money wherever it is parked in the world.... There is a legal process and the government is working strongly in this direction.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, bjp v-p

It is wrong for anyone to take credit for anything that is (being done) by the order of the SC... The BJP kept saying we will bring back so many crores of rupees and put it in your pocket... Have they put even Rs 55 in anyone’s pocket?
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, cong spokesperson

New Delhi, October 29
The Centre today submitted to the Supreme Court a list of 627 accounts held by Indians in a Swiss bank and said the probe by the Income Tax Department to identify and assess the total amount of black money would be completed by March 2015.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu, which had sought all details received from foreign countries, however, did not open the sealed covers containing the documents. The Bench, which included Justices Ranjana Desai and Madan Lokur, said the sealed covers would be forwarded to the SC-appointed special investigation team (SIT) for expediting the process of investigation and bringing back the black money involved in these accounts.

It said the sealed covers should be opened only by SIT Chairman MB Shah or Vice-Chairman Arijit Pasayat (both retired SC judges) to protect the confidentiality which was necessary under the bilateral treaties India had signed with various countries. The SC asked the SIT to submit a status report on the probe within a month i.e. by November 30.

Handing over the sealed covers to the SC, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said these contained three categories of documents. One set contained the list of 627 accounts, while another had the status report prepared by the government and the SIT on the investigations conducted so far. The third set contained government’s correspondence with the French authorities.

The government had already given the entire list to the SIT on June 27, 2014.

The Centre submitted that almost half of the account holders were resident Indians who could be prosecuted under the Income Tax laws and rest of them were NRIs.

The AG told the Bench that some of the account holders had admitted to having black money in their accounts and had either paid tax or agreed to pay. Some of them had disputed the government stand and launched litigation, while investigation pertaining to

the remaining accounts was on. He, however, did not mention any name, amount or the number of persons involved in each category.

Rohatgi said all 627 accounts were held in the HSBC Bank in Switzerland, but the list was received from France, which had somehow managed to get it through unofficial channels as part of a larger list which also contained names of Frenchmen who were evading tax.Since the “latest entries” in these bank accounts were that of 2006, the government had to extend the period of limitation for tax recovery from six years to 16 years to enable the investigation, he said. The AG said India would soon switch to automatic sharing of information on bank accounts, beginning with a bilateral agreement with the US by December 31, 2014

Under this latest system, followed by several countries on a bilateral basis, India and the US would exchange details of bank accounts containing huge amounts of their citizens raising suspicion about possible tax evasion.

The Bench said it had sought the entire list of foreign bank accounts as doubts had cropped up following the government’s plea for disclosing the names of only those persons who were found to have black money.





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