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SIT on black money to hold first meet on Monday

June 01, 2014 11:08 IST

The first high-level meeting of the Special Investigation Team on the issue of black money and special probe into cases of unaccounted funds stashed away abroad by Indians will be held in New Delhi on Monday.

The meeting, to be chaired by Justice (retd) M B Shah, will be attended by SIT Vice-Chairman Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat and top officials of 11 high-profile agencies and departments. Sources said the meeting is expected to discuss policy matters on combating the menace of black money and the status of ongoing probes and available inputs with all the departments in this regard.

"All the participating departments have been asked to bring a comprehensive status report of the probes they are conducting to brief the chairman and the vice-chairman of the SIT," they said. The terms of reference for the SIT, issued by the department of revenue under the Finance Ministry, states that the elite team will investigate all matters "with respect to unaccounted monies being stashed in foreign banks by Indians or other entities operating in India that may arise in the course of such investigations and proceedings."

“The government had notified the creation of the SIT on May 27 after the Supreme Court had asked it to constitute the high -- profile team comprising top bosses of the country's premier investigation, enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The officers who would form part of the SIT include secretary of the department of revenue, a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, the Intelligence Bureau director, the director of enforcement directorate, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, central board of direct taxes chairman and director general narcotics control bureau.

DG directorate of revenue intelligence, director financial intelligence unit, secretary Research and Analysis Wing and a joint secretary (foreign tax and tax research) in the finance ministry will be its other members. The SIT will also go into "all issues relating to matters concerning and arising from unaccounted monies of Hasan Ali Khan and Kashinath Tapuriah."

Khan is a Pune stud farm owner, who was arrested by the ED in connection with money laundering and tax evasion cases, while Tapuriah is his aide. The other tasks of the SIT include all investigations already commenced and are pending or awaiting to be initiated, with respect to any other known instances of the stashing of unaccounted monies in foreign bank accounts by Indians or other entities operating in India.

The SIT will also ensure that the matters are investigated, proceedings initiated and prosecutions conducted with regard to criminality and/or unlawfulness of activities that may have been the source for such monies, as well as the criminal and/or unlawful means that are used to take such unaccounted monies out of and/or bring such monies back into the country and use of such monies in India or abroad, the terms of reference said.

It shall "also be charged with the responsibility of preparing a comprehensive action plan, including the creation of necessary institutional structures that can enable and strengthen the country's battle against generation of unaccounted monies and their stashing away in foreign banks or in various forms domestically."

The panel has been empowered "to further investigate even where charge sheets have been previously filed and that the SIT may register further cases and conduct appropriate investigations and initiate proceedings, for the purpose of bringing back unaccounted monies unlawfully kept in bank accounts abroad."

The SIT will keep the apex court informed about all major developments by filing periodic status reports in this regard, the government notification said.

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