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Black money: CBI wants officers posted in some Indian missions

Source: PTI
November 02, 2014 18:33 IST
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The Central Bureau of Investigation has sought posting of its officers in some of the Indian missions abroad besides cutting down of red-tape involved in sending Letters Rogatory (LR) as measures to expedite cases related to black money.

"We have submitted a note to the Special Investigation Team in which we have elaborated about the measures that are required from the point of view of the probe agency," CBI Director Ranjit Sinha told PTI before leaving for Monaco.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Justice (retd) M B Shah with Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat as its Vice Chairman was constituted by the Government in May this year on the orders of Supreme Court for investigation, initiation of proceedings and prosecution in cases involving unaccounted money.

Heads of all intelligence agencies and financial probe bodies were nominated as its members and shall have jurisdiction in the cases where investigations have already commenced or are pending or awaiting to be initiated or have been completed.

The SIT was also asked to prepare a comprehensive action plan including creation of necessary institutional structure that could enable the country to fight the battle against unaccounted money.

In view of the action plan, the SIT had asked various probe agencies to submit their views on expediting cases where allegations of black money having been stashed abroad were made.

"The CBI sought that first and foremost the red-tape involved in the sending of Letters Rogatory (request for seeing assistance in a probe from a foreign government) should be cut down. It takes several weeks before such a request is actually sent," Sinha said.

The CBI Director also favoured appointment of CBI officers in Indian missions in countries like Switzerland, France, Germany, the UK, the US and the UAE.

The CBI director reasoned that these postings were necessary for pursuing the LRs that were to be executed in those countries.

"The Missions in these countries are helpful but having a designated officer will only help in expediting the process as otherwise time is only wasted in communication between the two governments in case of any doubts," he said.

As per the present procedure, CBI submits a Letters Rogatory request to the Ministry of Home Affairs which is vetted and sent to the court. After seeking the LR from the court, it is again sent to Home Ministry which after completing the process sends it to the Legal Treaties Division of External Affairs ministry for sending it to the desired foreign country.

While there was no exact number of LRs pending with various foreign nations, officials in the agency put the figure well up to 5,000.

The CBI director also opined that Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty needs to be signed with many more countries so that those countries could be approached directly for proving assistance under the treaty till a proper LR was sent to them.

"Now, I believe this is an important step which should be done. This will come handy for many cases that are being probed by the Economic Offences Wing of the CBI," the director said.

The CBI has submitted a list of 20 cases to the SIT in which there are suspicions about black money having been stashed outside the country.

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