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SIT to probe all cases of black money

Vrishti Beniwal  |  New Delhi 

Cases like alleged involvement of 500 Indians in parking money in HSBC's Geneva Branch, 26 Indian account holders of LGT Bank may all be probed by SIT

The special investigation team (SIT), announced on Tuesday by the Cabinet, will probe all cases of black money - be it related to the money allegedly stashed away by Indians abroad or domestic instances.

This means cases like the alleged involvement of over 500 Indians in parking money in HSBC's Geneva Branch, 26 Indian account holders of LGT Bank in Liechtenstein and cases related to stud farm owner Hasan Ali may all be probed by SIT.

The constitution of SIT was notified on Wednesday, officials in the finance ministry said.

The issue of black money also figured in a meeting between Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and revenue department officials.

The officials said the finance ministry will inform SIT about legal aspects of international treaties.

"We will tell them (SIT) about international treaties' legal position. So, expect its every decision to be well considered one," an official said.

For instance, India and Switzerland are currently engaged in exchanging letters over providing information on some 500 odd Indians who have allegedly stashed money in HSBC's Geneva branch. Switzerland's position is that India has got the data, stolen by a French employee. On the other hand, India says it got information from the French government. The information can be shared between India and Switzerland under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

All these aspects will be told to SIT.

Tuesday's Cabinet note specifically referred to the alleged black money cases of stud farm owner Hasan Ali. He was alleged to have dealt in huge sums of money, operating bank accounts in Switzerland, UK and Indonesia. Officials said the team may first make a swot analysis of environment as to what needs to be done.

The SIT will be headed, as the Supreme Court wanted, by its former judge, M B Shah, with another former apex court judge, Arijit Pasayat, as vice-chairman. The Supreme Court had asked the Centre to set up SIT on a petition filed by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani. Jethmalani also referred to the issue of alleged stashing of black money in LGT Bank in Liechtenstein.

After resisting for more than three years, the Centre had earlier this year revealed in the Supreme Court names of 18 people who allegedly stashed black money with LGT bank in Liechtenstein and against whom prosecution has been launched by the income tax department.

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.

India had received information from Germany in 2008 about 26 Indians account holders of LGT Bank.

First Published: Thu, May 29 2014. 00:09 IST
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