SC asks centre to constitute SIT on black money within a week

23 May 2014

The Supreme Court today directed the UPA government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe all black money cases within a week's time. It also directed the revenue department to keep all documents related to black money in safe custody of a secretary-level officer.

Supreme Court The directive follows an application moved by the central government on Wednesday seeking a week's extension of the deadline to implement its order on issuing a notification on reconstitution of the SIT to probe all cases of black money with former judge M B Shah as chairman.

The apex court had, on 1 May, also directed the government to provide copies of all documents and information collected by it in the cases of alleged stashing of black money in LSG bank in Liechtenstein, Germany, to Jethmalani and others who raised the issue before it.

The UPA government moved the court a day before the three-week deadline set by the apex court on 1 May, and pleaded before a bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan that it be given an urgent hearing on its review plea. The bench, however, refused to hear the case, saying that it cannot sit over a judgement delivered by another bench.

The bench asked additional solicitor general Siddharth Luthra to approach the Supreme Court registrar who can consult with the judges of the earlier bench and seek their opinion.

"How can we sit over judgement on the other bench. The judges are available during the vacation so you talk to the registrar. Proper procedure is to talk with registrar and then matter could be listed," the bench said.

Advocate Sandeep Kapoor, appearing for petitioner Ram Jethmalani, opposed UPA government's plea.

The government had, last week, also sought a review of the SC judgements constituting the panel under its former judge MB Shah, in a last ditch effort to stall setting up of the SIT.

Justice Shah, who was earlier appointed vice chairman by an SC order of 4 July 2011, has been appointed in place of former Supreme Court judge B P Jeevan Reddy who expressed inability to continue as chairman due to personal reasons.

The apex court also appointed retired judge Arijit Pasayat as the vice chairman of the SIT for providing guidance and direction in the investigation of all cases of black money in the country and abroad.


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