SC names new chairman to probe black money in tax havens

The Supreme Court of India has reconstituted the Special Investigating Team (SIT) by appointing two former judges -- MB Shah as the chairman and Arijit Pasayat as the vice chairman of SIT -- to provide guidance and direction in the investigation of all cases of black money in the country and abroad.

Justice Shah, who was earlier appointed as vice chairman as per July 4, 2011 order, will replace former apex court judge BP Jeevan Reddy who has expressed his inability to continue as chairman due to personal reasons.

The panel will include top sleuths from investigating agencies. The SIT was set up in 2011 to monitor the probe conducted by government agencies. However, it has remained dormant so far.

The investigation by SIT will be monitored by the apex court. Also, the court will be informed periodically about the status of investigation. The first report by SIT will be submitted on August 20, when the special bench will sit again.

On Thursday, the bench comprising justices HL Dattu, Ranjana Prakash Desai and MB Lokur asked the government to furnish all the names and documents pertaining to 26 cases to lawyer Ram Jethmalani and others, who had raised the issue and filed a petition seeking details of the black money stashed in foreign banks.

"Since the investigation is complete into the aforesaid mentioned cases, now we once again direct Union of India to furnish the documents and information which is kept in the covers (sealed) to petitioners within three days from today," said a bench in its order.

"We also request the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the SIT to initiate actions as expeditiously as possible,” said the bench.

The government had earlier revealed names of 18 persons after resisting for around three years despite the apex court order passed in 2011. Besides, the central government submitted before the apex court a sealed envelope containing the names of other individuals related to eight other cases in which it found no evidence of tax evasion.

Jethmalani had sought directions to the government to file the list of names of those having accounts in Liechtenstein Bank with respect of which investigations have been concluded, either partially or wholly.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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