‘Return of black money important, not names’
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it was more “interested” in bringing the black money stashed abroad back to the country than making public the names of persons holding illegal accounts in foreign banks.india Updated: Jan 21, 2015 01:27 IST
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it was more “interested” in bringing the black money stashed abroad back to the country than making public the names of persons holding illegal accounts in foreign banks.
“We are interested in bringing the money back to us and not in the disclosure of names,” a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said, declining to entertain a plea of the petitioners in the case to reveal the names of those penalised by the government so far.
During the hearing, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the government has so far disclosed names of those persons against whom “prosecution has been launched” in connection with case. The Centre had, on October 29 last year, given the Supreme Court a list of 627 Indians with accounts in the HSBC bank in Geneva. A tax probe against them is underway.
The authorities are on a deadline to complete an assessment of all those cases in the list — whose transactions took place during 1999 and 2000 — before March 31, 2015. Under the IT Act, prosecution for tax evasion can be initiated up to 16 years of committing the alleged offence.
The government said it submitted all the material and documents in connection with the case to the SIT, which was to decide whether the details could be supplied to the petitioners.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is an intervenor in the case, contended that publication of the names would act as a deterrent and stop many from stashing money abroad in the future. Expelled BJP member Ram Jethmalani vehemently protested against the NDA government claiming a draft legislation on the black money issue, prepared by him on the request of SIT, and sent to PM Narendra Modi has not been acted upon.
The SC said the petitioners and the intervenor in the case like advocate Bhushan could forward their suggestions to bring back black money stashed abroad to the SIT.