Day 1, Act 1: Modi government sets up SIT to track black money
28 May 2014
On its first day of assuming office, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government gave its approval for the special investigation team set up by the Supreme Court for investigation of all cases of black money.
''The union cabinet today approved the constitution of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to implement the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court on large amounts of money stashed abroad by evading taxes or generated through unlawful activities.
''The SIT will be headed by Hon'ble Mr Justice MB Shah, former Judge of the Supreme Court as chairman and Hon'ble Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat, former judge, as vice chairman,'' according to a press release issued late in the day.
Besides, the high level team has revenue secretary, deputy governor of the RBI, director of Intelligence Bureau, director of Enforcement Directorate, director of CBI, chairman of CBDT, director general of Narcotics Control Bureau, director general of Revenue Intelligence, director of Financial Intelligence Unit, director of Research and Analysis Wing and joint secretary (FT&IR-1), CBDT as members.
Setting up of the SIT has been pending approval as the earlier UPA government was against it and had even tried to scuttle the SC move. In fact, it had twice moved the SC against the setting up of an SIT to probe black money cases.
The Supreme Court had last week granted the government one week to constitute the SIT for monitoring of all black money cases.
"In the light of the directions of the SC, we have constituted an SIT for unearthing black money,'' minister of law and telecom Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
''This was an important issue for us," Prasad said, adding, the setting up of the SIT "indicates the commitment of the new government to pursue the issue of black money."
He said there was some delay on the part of the government in abiding by the Supreme Court's orders.
"Tomorrow is the last date (for setting up the SIT), therefore the very first agenda in accordance with its policy commitment was to have this very high-profile SIT," he said.
The SIT has been entrusted with the responsibility and duties of investigation, initiation of proceedings and prosecution in all cases of unaccounted wealth, including the Hasan Ali case and other matters involving black money, the release said.
The panel will have jurisdiction in cases where investigations have commenced, are pending, are waiting to be initiated or have been completed.
The SIT will prepare a comprehensive action plan, including creation of an institutional structure that could enable the country to fight the battle against unaccounted money. It would report on the status of its work to the Supreme Court from time to time, the statement added.