Black money: SIT sets investigation roadmap, discusses modalities

The first meeting of the Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by Justice MB Shah, former Judge of the Supreme Court, on Monday held discussed detailed modalities of proceeding further with the Supreme Court mandate and finalised its investigation roadmap.

The Narendra Modi government had recently constituted the SIT to implement the decision of the Supreme Court to track large amounts of money stashed abroad by evading taxes or generated through unlawful activities (See: Day 1, Act 1: Modi government sets up SIT to track black money).

The next meeting of the SIT will be convened shortly to take stock of the follow-up of the decisions taken in the first meeting of SIT held on Monday.

As per the terms of reference, the SIT will also go into "all issues relating to matters concerning and arising from unaccounted monies of Hasan Ali Khan and Kashinath Tapuriah."

Pune-based Khan is a stud farm owner, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with money laundering and tax evasion cases, while Tapuriah is his aide.

The other tasks of the SIT include all investigations already commenced and are pending or waiting to be initiated, with respect to any other known instances of the stashing of unaccounted monies in foreign bank accounts by Indians or other entities operating in India.

The SIT will ensure that the matters are investigated, proceedings initiated and prosecutions conducted with regard to criminality and / or unlawfulness of activities that may have been the source for such monies, as well as the criminal and / or unlawful means that are used to take such unaccounted monies out of and / or bring such monies back into the country and use of such monies in India or abroad, according to the terms of reference.

The SIT will take over all investigations that are already under way and are pending or waiting to be initiated, with respect to any other known instances of the stashing of unaccounted monies in foreign bank accounts by Indians or other entities operating in India, according to the notification.

Thursday's notification did not specify whether the SC's directive is for investigating the account holders in Liechtenstein banks whose names were disclosed by Germany (Black money: Govt submits names of 18 holders of foreign accounts to SC), or to review the probes already concluded so as to assess whether the investigations carried out so far were ''thoroughly and properly conducted or not, and on coming to the conclusion that there is a need for further investigation shall proceed further''.

The central government had, on 1 May, reported to the apex court that investigations had been concluded against 18 of the 26 individuals who had bank accounts in Liechtenstein. The investigation, however, did not find any evidence against eight and the investigation had been concluded against them.