Black money: SIT asks agencies to share data on ongoing cases

Black money: SIT asks agencies to share data on ongoing cases

Black money: SIT asks agencies to share data on ongoing cases

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has sought details of all major cases of tax evasion and criminal financial fraud being probed by various investigative agencies which are mandated to keep a check on such instances.

Sources said that the SIT headed by retired Supreme Court Justice M B Shah has asked the 11 departments on its panel to furnish fine details of these cases and the status of their probes, including any problems being faced by investigators in taking the cases forward for prosecution or penalty.

The member departments/agencies of SIT are the Department of Revenue (under the Ministry of Finance), RBI, Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, CBI, Income Tax department, Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Financial Intelligence Unit, Research and Analysis Wing and the Foreign Tax and Tax Research wing under the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The sources said the SIT has asked for the data in order to understand the trends and magnitude of the menace of black money and generation of illegal funds in the country, which is done through a variety of ways like evasion of taxes and duties, flouting of foreign exchange laws, creation of disproportionate assets, creation of 'benami' properties within the country and outside and laundering of wealth obtained through illegal and corrupt means.

The departments, they said, are in the process of submitting these details in the stipulated format to SIT and these will be taken up during the next meeting of the panel, expected to take place some time next month.

RBI has recently directed all banks and financial institutions to provide the information and documents sought by the high-profile panel.

The SIT, formed upon the directions of Supreme Court, had its first meeting earlier this month here at the North Block office of the Finance Ministry.

The high-level team has also decided to look into the contentious issue of secrecy clauses in India's tax treaties with Switzerland and other countries.

Retired apex court judge Arijit Pasayat is the Vice Chairman of the SIT while top officials of the 11 high-profile agencies and departments are its members.

After the first meeting of the SIT, the government had said the detailed modalities of proceeding further with the Supreme Court mandate were discussed and the road map decided.

The SIT's mandate, as notified, requires it to go into "all issues relating to matters concerning and arising from unaccounted monies of Hasan Ali Khan and Kashinath Tapariah".

Pune-based Khan, a stud farm owner, was arrested by Enforcement Directorate in connection with money laundering and tax evasion cases. Tapariah is his aide.

The other tasks of SIT include all investigations already started and pending or awaiting to be initiated with respect to any other known instances of the stashing away of unaccounted cash in foreign bank accounts by Indians or other entities operating in India.

The panel has also been empowered "to further investigate even where charge-sheets have been previously filed and SIT may register further cases and conduct appropriate investigations and initiate proceedings for the purpose of bringing back unaccounted monies unlawfully kept in bank accounts abroad."

The SIT will also keep the apex court informed about all major developments by filing periodic status reports in this regard, the government notification had said.

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