The Central government on Tuesday gave to the Supreme Court the names, documents and related information regarding 26 persons who reportedly had accounts in foreign banks, as disclosed by German authorities about three years ago. The details were handed to the judges by the solicitor general in two sealed envelopes.
The first cover contained names, documents and information regarding 18 persons against whom an investigation by income tax authorities has concluded and prosecution initiated against 17. One person has since died. These mainly relate to accounts in Liechtenstein Bank in Germany.
The second envelope contained details of eight others, against whom investigations have concluded without any evidence of tax evasion. The bench headed by Justice H L Dattu wanted to open and discuss the contents with his colleagues on the bench. Therefore, the court will sit on Thursday at 4 pm to take up the matter.
Counsel for Ram Jethmalani, who moved the petition for disclosure of the names, handed over three names of former Supreme Court judges, one of whom will chair the special investigation team (SIT) proposed to look into the issue of a large sum of money stashed abroad. Former judge M B Shah has consented to be vice-chairman but ex SC-judge Jeevan Reddy was not willing to head it. In view of this, the new list has been presented to the court.
The government vehemently protested against setting up of the SIT, and insisted the present machinery was sufficient to investigate tax frauds and deposit of dirty money in Swiss and German banks. However, the judges brushed aside the protests and are likely to announce the SIT panel on Thursday.
Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran reiterated the government’s objection to the disclosure of names of individuals who have accounts in the tax havens.
He submitted that such disclosures would violate the Indo-German treaty and protocols, apart from the Constitution. Even courts are barred from infringing the confidentiality of the accounts. The information should be used only for tax purposes, he insisted.
However, Anil Divan, representing Jethmalani, said all these arguments had already been addressed to the court three years ago and rejected in the judgment of 2011 that ordered the establishment of the SIT.
18 NAMES DISCLOSED
The Centre on Tuesday revealed before the Supreme Court the names of 18 persons who allegedly stashed black money with LST Bank in Liechtenstein and against whom prosecution have been launched by the income tax department, reports PTI
Listed in Centre's affidavit:
- Ambrunova Trust and Marline Management: Mohan Manoj Dhupelia, Ambrish Manoj Dhupelia, Bhavya Manoj Dhupelia, Manoj Dhupelia and Rupal Dhupelia
- Dainese Stiftung and Dryade Satiftunf trust: Arunkumar Ramniklal Mehta and Harshad Ramnikal Mehta
- Webster Foundation: K M Mammen
- Urvashi Foundation: Arun Kochhar
- Raj Foundation: Ashok Jaipuria
- Manichi Trust: Hasmuk Ishwarlal Gandhi, Chintan Hasmukh Gandhi, Madhu Hasmukh Gandhi and Late Mirav Hasmukh Gandhi
- Ruvisha Trust: Chandrakant Ishwarlal Gandhi, Rajest Chandrakant Gandhi, Viraj Chandrakant Gandhi and Dhanalaxmi Chandrakant Gandhi
- The Centre also placed in a sealed envelope the names of other individuals with respect to eight other cases in which it found no evidence of tax evasion, and asked a bench headed by judge H L Dattu not to make public those names