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Updated: July 5, 2011 03:05 IST

Supreme Court forms SIT on black money

J. Venkatesan
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The Supreme Court on Monday expressed serious concern over the magnitude of the problem and the threat black money posed to the country's economy. File photo
The Supreme Court on Monday expressed serious concern over the magnitude of the problem and the threat black money posed to the country's economy. File photo

The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Union government for not “showing seriousness” in bringing back black money stashed away abroad, and constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to take steps to bring back unaccounted monies.

Passing an interim order on petitions filed by the former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, and others, a Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar, expressed serious concern over the magnitude of the problem and the threat black money posed to the country's economy.

The SIT will function under the chairmanship of the retired Supreme Court judge, B.P. Jeevan Reddy.

The court directed the government to issue a notification forthwith regarding the appointment of the SIT and ordered that the government machinery cooperate with it.

Centre's view rejected

Writing the order, Justice Sudershan Reddy rejected the government contention that since a high-level committee (HLC) was set up there was no need for a SIT.

The Bench said: “The volume of alleged income-taxes owed to the country, as demanded by the Union of India itself, and the volume of monies, by some accounts $8.04 billion, and some other accounts in excess of Rs. 70,000 crore, are said to have been routed through various bank accounts of Hassan Ali Khan and Tapurias. Further, from all accounts it has been acknowledged that none of the named individuals has any known and lawful sources for such huge quantities of monies.

“All of these factors, either individually or combined, ought to have immediately raised questions regarding the sources being unlawful activities, national security, and transfer of funds into India for other illegal activities, including acts against the State. It was only at the repeated insistence by us that such matters have equal, if not even greater importance than issues of tax collection, has the Union of India belatedly concluded that such aspects also ought to be investigated with thoroughness. However, there is still no evidence of a really serious investigation into these other matters from the national security perspective.

“HLC insufficient”

“The fact remains that the Union of India has struggled in conducting a proper investigation into the affairs of Hassan Ali Khan and the Tapurias. This highly complex investigation has in fact just begun. The formation of the HLC was a necessary step, and may even be characterised as a welcome step. Nevertheless, it is an insufficient step.”

Besides the HLC members, the SIT will have the Director of Research and Analysis Wing as a member. The former Supreme Court judge, M.B. Shah, will be its vice-chairman.

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I am having mixed feeling. On one hand, I am ecstatic that a court was so outspoken about the inaction of the Govt and forcing it to act. On the other hand, I am sad to see that a court had to take up the job of the Govt which means, we don't have working Executive branch.

from:  Meher
Posted on: Jul 8, 2011 at 06:33 IST

The Supreme Court decision is great of Directing the Government to form a SIT against BLACK MONEY HORDERS. If the govt take quick action in setting SIT and bring out illegals and make publicity of their names and legal actions then the potential black money holders will have moral fear and in future black money hoarders will reduce.A SALUTE TO SUPREME COURT AND CHIEF JUDGES OF INDIA.

from:  S. Sundararaman
Posted on: Jul 6, 2011 at 11:31 IST

In the four pillars of democracy, only judiciary is still holding, while parliament, executive and media is already sold to MNCs and foreign powers .With so much corruption and black money already India had become a banana republic.

from:  Kumaravel
Posted on: Jul 6, 2011 at 10:13 IST

The appointment of an SIT by the Supreme Court is another slap on the face of the shameless Congress at the Centre. It is a fact that the people in the higher echelons of power at the Centre, have not been serious about tracking and bringing back the black money stacked abroad, as many Congressmen themselves have stacked money there. The Congress ruled the country for a major part of time and thanks to their licence-permit raj, they enabled the creation of black money and Ministers took maximum advantage by transferring bribes to Swiss Banks and later other tax havens. Supreme Court must first ensure that money in these foreign accounts are not withdrawn and that they are attached as property of the country and put in Reserve Bank account. Action against such people is another matter. First priority is to bring back the money to the country, which will help alleviate poverty in a great way, especially as now, there will be greater degree of transparency in government's functioning!!!

from:  H.S. Krishna Prasad
Posted on: Jul 6, 2011 at 05:28 IST

Order of the hon'ble Supreme Court to form SIT clearly establishes that the Govt. has not only failed to check corruption but had all along been trying to suppress attempt made by the hon'ble supreme court , Anna Hazare or Baba Ramdev to control the same and bring back black money from abroad.It now warrants that public and media should unite to raise voice to force the Govt. to act.

from:  Romesh
Posted on: Jul 6, 2011 at 00:22 IST

Most welcome step. No country suffers such stashing away its wealth as ours does.

from:  M.B.Bhatt
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 21:33 IST

Well, it has always been a turf war between the executive and the judiciary. In the bargain if something good happens to the citizens that is a bonus. I have no reason to believe that the apex court is trying to do something really good. We have seen how, even while trying to take the credit for recognising the right to information as a fundamental right, the courts, led by the apex court, have subverted it. Also how they are resisting the civil society's demand to bring the judges also under the jurisdiction of Lokpal. In the present case too we have to be contented if something good comes out of this apex court decision. Let us wait and watch. After all the proof of the pudding is in eating it. Incidentally the apex court had also constituted an armed forces grievances redressal commission headed by a former apex court judge. It is more than 6 months since the dead line has expired and nothing has been heard about its implementation.

from:  P M Ravindran
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 20:42 IST

The current prevailing govt is just playing the old trick : set up the committee and let the issue rot. These shrewd politicians just know how to delay the process. They formed so many committees but we never had or have the final verdict from any of these committees. This govt is not serious in tackling the corruption at all. Mr Mukherjee gave a very lame excuse regarding revealing the names of those who stacked black money in the foreign banks. They are just looking for the excuses rather than the solutions. We can see the example of Germany who tried sinceerely in tracking the names of black money owners and our beloved GOI is busy in making excuses, forming committees to fool people of India. Everytime SC has to use their stick to get the things moving. Now I'm pretty sure that these corrupt policians will start shuting that Judiciary is intervening in the parliamentary systems. Only because of SC judges, people still have some hopes from our democracy.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 20:31 IST

First time in the history sc as taken a very good decision, must & should bring back the money, this time there is no any mercy for fraud people who was kept us in dark and made us poor.

from:  S Ravi
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 12:47 IST

The whole country salutes Supreme Court. Supreme Court gives a breather to the common man that at least there is some justice. With this present Government under Dr. Manmohan, nothing will move unless the Court interven.

from:  Subramanian
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 10:44 IST

Its a shame on our Parliament, and on its honourable members, our Supreme Court is doing the job what should have been the responsibility of our Parliamentarians. This clearly proves our Parliamentarians are totally hand-in-glove with criminals and that they are unfit to run the system. The truth is stronger and powerful Judiciary is needed to have a strong Democracy.

from:  Xavier Surender
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 10:22 IST

Mr. Jethmalani is quite a maverick. Good initiation. With this judgement, I feel elated as a Citizen, and once again proud to be an Indian. Even during emergency i remember quite well, my Parents had hope on this Institution, even though all other Institutions were packing up (mind you, including The Lower Courts where Judges were being ordered to do things, but 'few' of the leading Judges relented such orders, and did not follow through, as it went against the professional and ethical culture of the Robe). Supreme Court was tested even then only for it to become a more powerful Institution thereafter. However, it could have gone the other way. Though corrosion had started in a small way even then, and now it pervades some corridors of this Great Institution. But we Citizens have hope with Mr. Kapadia at the helms, and the sanctity of it's culture. Good and Healthy Judgement such as this will keep the Powers-that-be in check. Isn't that what Checks & Balances are all about.

from:  Sunit Jang Bahadur
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 09:20 IST

The decision by the SC is splendid. And also said with foresight,for the good of the nation. Hats off to SC and CJI.

from:  G.Naryanaswamy
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 06:17 IST

At long last, an executive order (sic) from SUpreme Court. The foot-dragging of the administration should have been so frustrating to the Judges that they directed the Government to set up a SIT. The current administration is not capable of organising a village level atheletics carnival for children. We deserve the Government we elect. Thanks God the judges are there to take care of the governence.

from:  Mani Sandilya
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 04:58 IST

One gets a feeling that this government needs to be prodded by a citizen filing a petition in the SC and the latter has to castigate the administration before things move.That the establishment sleeps over serious issues and is only engaged in paying lip service by appointing an HLC thereby creating more sinecures is a matter of shame.It is now clear that the Government has not only been rattled by the series of scams that have popped out of its cupboards and has realised that no damage control is going to work and that its days are numbered but numbed into total inaction.

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 04:25 IST

I join the millions of people who gladly welcome the nation's Apex court's order, appointing the SIT.The steps taken so far by the Government to bring back black money are a big let-down.The government's 'Slow and Steady' attitude towards such an important issue has made the world sit and watch us.It is hoped that now the SC's order would spur the Government into action in 'right' earnest.

from:  M Somasekhar Prasad
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 01:12 IST
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