Justice Shah reacts to list of black money accounts holders, says `All these facts are already known to SIT members`

Justice MB Shah

New Delhi, Oct 30: Even as the Central government on Wednesday sbumitted a list comprising names of 627 black money account holders to the Supreme Court, head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case Justice MB Shah said there is no new detail in the submitted report.

Speaking to a news channel, Justice said: “I don’t think there is anything significant in the report. The list is the same as before. It was known to us. We have to question the people in the list.” He added that there is no new outcome of the investigations that have taken place in the past few days.

Justice Shah told the news channel: “All these facts that have been revealed were already known to the members of SIT. We should be able to file a satisfactory report in time.”

Shah asserted that the probe is underway and filing a report will take time. “The probe is a difficult one. there is no eye wash. The report will take time. We have already filed the first report in August. I’m hopeful that we should be able to file the final report by next year,” he said.

He, however, said that he did not feel that the government was trying to protect anyone who is named in the list.

Earlier in the day, the Central government submitted a list of names of 627 black money account holders to the Supreme Court. The court refused to open the sealed envelope saying that only the SIT Chairman and Vice Chairman can open the sealed envelope containing the names of account holders.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the list has been provided by the French government of those who have accounts in the HSBC Bank, Geneva. “The deadline for completion of all investigations into the black money cases is March 31, 2015,” he said. The Attorney General added that the maximum people in the list are residents in India and rest are NRIs.

Meanwhile, the apex court also allowed the Centre to put forth its grievances regarding various treaties with foreign countries before the SIT.

Chiding the government, the Supreme Court had on Tuesday said, “You do not do anything. Just pass information of account holders to us and we will pass order for further probe. You do not have to take interest in people having foreign bank accounts, the Special Investigation Team will take care of it.”

“We can’t leave the issue of bringing back black money to government. It will never happen during our time. Why are you providing protective umbrella to foreign bank account holders,” the court said.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told reporters after the hearing that the government has informed the SC the deadline for investigation and assessment under the Income Tax Act into these accounts is March 2015.

Rohatgi said this is the same list which the Centre had handed over to the SIT on June 27 earlier this year.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday had pulled up the Centre for seeking modification of its order on black money on disclosing names of account holders in foreign banks. The apex court told the government “We won’t change even a word of our order.”

On Monday, the government in an affidavit to the apex court had named three people who had accounts in Swiss banks with black money.

Those named in the government affidavit were Pradip Burman of the Dabur group, Rajkot-based bullion trader Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhya and directors of Goa-based mining company Timblo Private Limited – Radha Satish Timblo, Chetan S Timblo, Rohan S Timblo, Anna C Timblo and Mallika R Timblo. Timblo Private Limited, a firm identified by Association for Democratic Reforms as a donor to both the BJP and the Congress, was also named.

The government is reportedly building pressure particularly on Switzerland, seeking details of Indians who have parked unaccounted for money in the Alpine country’s highly secretive banks.

(With Agency Inputs)

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