"We will act on this list as per law and continue with our investigation": Justice Shah
Justice M.B. Shah, chairman of the 11-member Special Investigation Team on black money, said the Switzerland government’s move to share with India a list of its citizens who are suspected to have stashed away untaxed wealth in Swiss banks will come as a major breakthrough in its ongoing investigation.
“Of course, we will positively receive the information on the Zurich list. This information will help us assess the quantum of black money stashed away by Indians in that country,” Justice Shah, a former Supreme Court judge, told The Hindu on Sunday over the phone.
Following a Supreme Court direction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 27 constituted the SIT on black money. The team has Justice Arijit Pasayat, also a former Supreme Court judge, as its vice-chairman. Justice Shah said a meeting of the SIT would be called soon to discuss the new development.
“We will act on this list as per law and continue with our investigation,” Justice Shah said from his home at Ahmedabad.
Justice Shah was reacting to a PTI story from Zurich, which said Switzerland had prepared a list of Indians who had stashed away untaxed wealth in Swiss banks and was ready to share the details with New Delhi.
“These individuals and entities are suspected to have held untaxed money in Swiss banks through structures like trusts, domiciliary companies and other legal entities based out of countries other than India,” the official told the news agency.
He refused to divulge the identity of these persons and entities, as also the quantum of funds held by them in Swiss banks, citing confidentiality clause of the bilateral information exchange treaty between the two countries.
“If the government is really serious about black money, it should crack down on tax haven companies dealing in laundered money from anonymous sources. Even the SIT was formed on the insistence of the Supreme Court and not the government,” said senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Keywords: black money issue, SIT on black money, Switzerland government, Indian government, un-taxed wealth, Narendra Modi government, Switzerland government’s move, India-Switzerland information sharing