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SC pulls down Centre on black money issue

Says it didn't do enough to bring back illegal money

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea of the Centre to recall its judgment in which it had directed the government to set up a special investigative team (SIT) to probe black money stashed abroad by Indians and bring it back.

In July 2011, the court had directed the setting up of the team, headed by a retired judge. The team was to report directly to the court. However, the government had opposed the order saying the court should not have passed it, when there were competent people and sufficient machinery working at it. The judgment was passed on a public interest suit moved by lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

The government has not complied with the order and had moved an application to recall it. Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran told a bench, headed by H L Dattu, there were other statutory authorities looking into the illegal deposits in tax havens. The counsel said some like Hassan Ali Khan had been prosecuted. So, the court should not have ordered the setting up of another panel.

The judges remarked if those authorities had not failed in their effort, the court would not have passed the order. If the money had been brought, "we could have avoided paying 30 per cent income tax," they observed.

Anil Divan, who represented Jethmalani, wanted to move another application, seeking the disclosure of the names of the depositors. But the judges said they had not read the application and postponed hearing till April 22.

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First Published: Thu, March 27 2014. 00:12 IST