Black money probe tough, says SIT chief

SC asks agency to submit report by November

Black money probe tough, says SIT chief

As the focus shifted on the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the black money probe, its head Justice M B Shah on Wednesday said the documents submitted by the government to the Supreme Court were the same that was given to them in June.

Though he expects to submit the report on time, Shah said the investigation is not going to be easy. “We are back to square one in the black money probe. It is the same list that was given to us in June. Facts revealed are already known to the SIT,” Shah said.

The SIT has been asked by the Supreme Court to submit a report by November on 220 names in the 627-strong list of account holders in HSBC Bank, Geneva. “We are hopeful that we will be able to meet the deadline, but the process is difficult,” he told a news channel.

He did not attach much importance to the list saying the developments on the black money list in the last few days are “insignificant” as they were in possession of these details. 

However, he said that it does not seem that the government is trying to protect anyone. Shah refuted suggestions that the probe is  eyewash. 

“It is not eyewash. Nothing is eyewash. Nothing can be said to be eyewash. On the contrary we got some results,” he said.

An onerous task awaits the SIT as the Supreme Court decided to hand over the three sealed envelopes containing the names of account holders without perusing it. 

The court’s action was seen as an effort to ensure that the confidentiality clause in the treaties signed by the government is not disturbed.

The Supreme Court has also told the government to approach the SIT if it has any reservation about the process of making the names public. It is to be seen how the government and SIT will work together.

The SIT is also understood to have sought an investigation unit led by the Enforcement Directorate to assist it in the probe. It also wants changes in the Double Tax Avoidance Agreements. 

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