‘No need for setting up a Special Investigation Team '
The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that it had constituted a high level committee comprising the heads of various probe agencies and specialised departments under the aegis of the Department of Revenue to monitor the investigation of all aspects relating to black money.
Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told a Bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar that the 10-member committee, headed by the Revenue Secretary, would have as its members, the Deputy Governor, RBI; Directors of the Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate; Financial Intelligence Unit and the Central Bureau of Investigation, Chairman and Joint Secretary (FT and TR-I) of Central Board of direct Taxes; Director General of Narcotic Control Bureau and Director General of Revenue Intelligence.
The Solicitor General said that since the committee had been constituted on April 22, there was no need for setting up a Special Investigation Team as suggested by the court during the last hearing. He said that the co-ordinated mechanism had been put in place to deal with cases of black money, and the Revenue Secretary would act as the coordinator.
He further said that various aspects of the black money case could be probed by different agencies, and that it would not be limited to the case of Hasan Ali Khan. He said the security angle would be probed by the CBI which would also deal with Hasan Ali Khan case. Money laundering aspect would be investigated by the ED while RBI should be asked to look into the black money stashed in UBS and other Swiss banks.
Denying that the government was concentrating [on] only one individual, he said the government agencies were investigating into 36 cases involving black money. He said as per the agreement into with 26 countries, the government was now empowered to attach the black money stashed in their banks by Indian citizens. He said names would be disclosed only after prosecution was launched.
The court was hearing a petition filed by noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and others for a direction to the government to bring black money stashed by Indian nationals in foreign banks.
Senior counsel Anil Divan, appearing for the petitioners questioned the government taking shelter under the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) for not disclosing the names of persons who had deposited money with the Liechtenstein Bank. He said once the German government had provided the information, the government could not deny such information stating that it was disclosed under the DTAA.
He contended that the DTAA did not apply to Indians having accounts in foreign bank[s].
He did not agree with the Centre's stand that the names could be disclosed only after registering a formal case against them.
Arguments will continue on April 28.