Union Government on 29 October 2014 submitted a list of 627 Indians holding black money abroad to the Supreme Court (SC). The names were submitted after the SC harshly rapped the government for providing a protective umbrella to shield the illicit account holders in foreign bank.
The list submitted by the Union in a sealed cover includes three sets of documents. These are
• First set includes the details of correspondence, treaties and agreements that India had signed with France and other nations where the illegal money was said to be stashed
• Second set that contains all the 627 names
• Third set provides the status report on the probe in these cases
As per the provided list, more than half of people are NRIs and most of them had accounts with the HSBC bank, Geneva.
The Union government also gave a status report on the investigations against such account holders.
The SC Directions
The SC bench comprising of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Madan B. Lokur asked the SC Registry to send the envelope to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and directed that the envelopes should be opened only by the SIT Chairman, Justice MB Shah and vice-chairman, Justice Arijit Pasayat to conduct the further investigation.
The SIT has been directed to evolve its own procedure on the kind of probe that is needed into these accounts and also to evolve the process to get the black money back.
The apex court has scheduled the next hearing for 3 December 2014 and asked the SIT to submit a status report by 30 November 2014 after ascertaining who had black money accounts abroad.
Union Government’s Stand
Rohatgi informed the court that the details of the account holders were for the year 2006, which was stolen by an HSBC employee from Switzerland. This list was supplied by the French Government to the Union Government in 2011.
Rohatgi also told the court that most transactions had taken place during 1999 and 2000 and under law, the last date for completion and assessment of all cases was 31 March 2015. Under the Income Tax Act, 1967 prosecution for tax evasion can be initiated up to 16 years after the offence.
Earlier on 27 October 2014, the Union Government submitted the first list that contained names of Dabur group director Pradip Burman, bullion trader Pankaj Lodhiya, Goa-based Timblo Pvt Ltd director Radha Timblo and four of her family members, who are also directors in the company.
Who: Union Government
Where: to the Supreme Court
When: on 29 October 2014