The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Special Investigation Team to submit a further report on the progress of its investigation on bringing back the unaccounted money stashed away to overseas tax havens.
Seeking the report – which would be the fourth one – a bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice A.K. Sikri said the report should reach it on or before October 7.
“We request the SIT to submit further report on or before October 7,” the court said directing the next hearing of the matter on October 15. The hearing was adjourned on Thursday as senior counsel Ram Jethamalani who is the petitioner, seeking bringing back the unaccounted money stashed abroad, was unwell.
The SIT with former apex court judges Justice M.B. Shah as its chairman and Justice Arijit Pasayat as its vice chairman set up under the apex court order of July 4, 2011, has been mandated to undertake the investigations into the unaccounted money stashed away in tax havens and foreign bank and take steps to bring it back.
As senior counsel Dushyant Dave appearing for the SIT urged the court to extend the date for the submission of next report on or before October 15, the court said that it would be in a better position to know the progress of investigation if the report was submitted early.
Dave told the court that SIT has made several recommendations on the steps that could be taken to curb the flight of unaccounted money and Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi would be able to tell of the government response to them.
As court observed that the copy of the reports submitted to the court must have gone to the government also, the attorney general said that he would get back to the court with the government response to the earlier recommendations by the SIT.
The SIT comprises the revenue secretary, the Reserve Bank of India’s deputy governor, the directors of the Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, and Central Bureau of Investigation, the chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, the director generals of the Narcotics Control Bureau and Revenue Intelligence, the director, Financial Intelligence Unit, and joint secretary, (FT & TR-I), CBDT. The court had said that the SIT would also include director, Research and Analysis Wing.
However, the SITA ould not get operational till May 1, 2014, as government dragged its feet on the issuing the notification citing certain ambiguities.
On May 1, 2014, the apex court held that there was no ambiguity in the July 4, 2011 order and sought the necessary notification be issued.
Initially by July 4, 2011, the SIT was headed by former apex court judge Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy with Justice Shah as second in command.
However, Justice Jeevan Reddy withdrew from the SIT citing personal reasons.
The court by its May 1, 2014 order made Justice Shah chairman with Justice Pasayat as vice chairman.