Expressing satisfaction on the steps taken by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), the Supreme Court on Wednesday said “some progress” has been made by the probe panel under the chairmanship of its former judge Justice MB Shah for bringing back black money stashed away by Indian citizens in foreign banks.
Taking the SIT’s first report on record , a three-judge bench headed by Justice H L Dattu also permitted the petitioner in the case, Ram Jethmalani, and his counsel, senior lawyer Anil Diwan, to interact with the SIT on the nuances of the case and on “means and method” to be adopted on how the money can be brought back. However, it turned down the jurist's plea for allowing him to go through the contents of the status report submitted by the SIT in a sealed cover.
“It’s purely confidential. All we can say is that there is some progress,” the bench told Diwan when the latter asked for a report’s copy.
The court directed the Centre to look into Jethmalani’s claim that Germany had shared vital information with the Indian government on those who had stashed blackmoney in LGT Bank in Liechtenstein. Jethmalani said the German authorities had shared this news with his attorney after the senior counsel sought some details on the issue.
Jethamalani’s letter which was submitted to the bench, had appealed to the German administration to reveal the details of all the Indians who stashed black money abroad.
While requesting the SIT to proceed with its work, it also asked the Centre to respond on the letter written by Jethmalani to the German authorities as well as detail the measures taken by the government so far in the case.
Jethmalani was also asked to hand over the letters addressed by him to German authorities to Additional Solicitor General N K Kaul, who will take instructions from competent authorities, for making statement on the next date of hearing on November 11.
After resisting for more than three years, the Centre had on April 29 disclosed the names and documents of 26 Indians who have stashed money in LGT bank. In an affidavit, the Centre said income tax-department had completed its probe and launched prosecution against 17 persons and abated proceedings against one who is dead. There was no evidence with regard to remaining eight, he said. It said Germany handed over the list on March 18, 2009, but the government refused to divulge