The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed two of its former judges to head the Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe the black money stashed by Indians in foreign tax havens. The court also asked the government to hand over the names, documents and information of 26 Indians, who were investigated by the tax authorities, to senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, a petitioner in the case. “Since the investigation is complete into the aforesaid mentioned cases, now we once again direct Union of India to furnish the documents and information which is kept in the covers (sealed) to petitioners within three days from today,” a bench comprising justices H L Dattu, Ranjana Prakash Desai and M B Lokur said.
The government was resisting for nearly three years the disclosure of the names and appointment of SIT, though the court had directed it to do so in its judgment dated 2012. The government argued that the disclosure of names will violate the confidentiality clauses in international protocol. The names have already been handed over to the court.
Former judge M B Shah will be the chairman of SIT and Arijit Pasayat will be the vice chairman. The court asked them to “initiate and conclude” the work as expeditiously as possible. Justice Shah will replace former apex court judge
B P Jeevan Reddy who recused himself due to personal reasons. The bench directed the Centre to issue notification on their appointment within three weeks. The court will monitor the progress of the SIT which will submit its first report on August 20.