The central government on Monday declined to reveal the names of those being probed in cases related to black money stashed in foreign tax havens. In spite of the judges questioning the difficulty in revealing the names of those under the scanner, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium did not reveal the information.
After the counsel handed over the progress report of the investigation to the bench headed by Justice Sudershan Reddy, Subramanium sought more time to submit a more detailed report at the next hearing. The contents of the report were not revealed.
The judges told the government counsel they wanted information on two aspects — the threat to national security and the source of the illegal money stashed abroad. They also said so far, the probe was focussed only on Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan and that no other name was revealed. “What about others?” the judges asked.
“It is very difficult to be calm and quiet after seeing the status report,” the judges said. “Why were all the investigative agencies sleeping since 2008? Why did they move only when we stepped in,” they asked. If the writ petition by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani had not been filed, nothing would have happened, the judges said. The court was hearing Jethmalani’s public interest litigation seeking to unearth the black money stashed away by Indian citizens in banks abroad.
The Solicitor General submitted Khan had written to the government about the threat to his and his family’s lives. The counsel said this should be taken seriously, since he was currently in judicial custody after being denied bail. Subramanium said the threat was not only to Khan’s life but also to some of the officers who were investigating the case and that they should also be given protection. He, however, did not disclose the names of the sleuths investigating the case.
He said apart from public and national interests, there were several vital aspects being looked into by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other investigating agencies. Subramanium said at the next stage, the work would be distributed among the various agencies according to their roles. The court was also considering the idea of setting up a special investigation team comprising officers of IB, RAW, CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to probe the entire issue.