Govt's list contains no new information, says SIT chief

The list of 627 names of foreign bank account holders that the centre submitted to the Supreme Court today does not provide any new details than the one submitted in June, Justice M B Shah who heads the Special Investigation Team probing the black money case told reports today.

In an exclusive interview with CNN IBN, the SIT chairman and former Justice M B Shah said the developments in the black money case in the last few days are insignificant.

"We are back to square one. The government has submitted the same list which was submitted to us last June. All the facts that have been revealed in the black money list were already known to the SIT," said the Justice Shah.

However, the SIT chief asserted that it does not seem that the government was trying to protect anyone. He also assured that the SIT's report will be ready in time.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today accused the government of sparing the "big fishes" holding black money abroad.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said the revelations of black money account holders should not be selective. "There should not be selective revelation of names. The big fishes are being let off," he told the media.

Kejriwal on Tuesday moved an application in the Supreme Court seeking to be heard in the black money case. The former Delhi chief minister claimed he had personal knowledge of some people who have stashed black money in foreign banks.

Meanwhile, the SC directed that the sealed envelopes containing 627 names, including correspondence with the French government, be given to SIT chairman Justice MB Shah and vice chairman Justice Arijit Pasayat. The SIT was set up by the apex court on 4 July 2011.

The court said the SIT will move into the matter in accordance with the law.

All the 627 accounts are at HSBC Bank in Geneva - the details of which India got from the French government. These are also known as stolen data and when the Indian government approached the Swiss authorities for assistance, they refused to help, saying that they don't deal with stolen data. However, HSBC Bank said that if the Indian authorities get an NOC from the account holders, then it would share the details. As a consequence, about 50-60 account holders gave their consent with NOC.

Ram Jethmalani, who raked up the black money issue in the Supreme Court, said that submission of names is a "great development but the credit goes to SC not the finance ministry or AG."

"They have to give the names to SIT, investigation should not be left to officers or government," he added.