The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Centre’s plea to recall its 2011 order to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe all cases of black money, maintaining it stepped in 65 years after the government failed to bring back the money stashed in foreign bank accounts.
“Let us see whether the SIT will do things which this court is dreaming of,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice HL Dattu observed, pulling up the Centre for its reluctance to accept the July 4, 2011 order to constitute an SIT headed by two retired judges of the SC.
“Since 1947, nobody thought for 65 years to bring these money stashed in foreign banks to the country. (The) government has failed in its role for 65 years. We are not impressed by your statement. If you had undertaken the exercise there was no need for us to step in,” the bench said.
The Indian economy would have been in a better situation if the money wasn’t stashed in those accounts and pumped into the market here, the court added.
“The per capita income would have gone up. Income tax rate which we are paying at 30 per cent would have been reduced,” the bench told solicitor general Mohan Parasaran.
The government’s contention that there was already a mechanism in place to deal with the issue was brushed aside with the court noting the Centre was “literally running away” from the SIT-monitored probe.
Justifying the order for setting up of a SIT, the bench said the SC can’t “ignore” the government organisation “if it loses faith in it”.
The Centre came in for further criticism for not complying with the court’s order to conduct a probe against Pune stud owner Hassan Ali Khan and businessman Kashinath Taporiah.
“Three yars have passed but you haven’t done anything,” the bench told Parasaran.
The SC order on the formation of SIT in the black money case was passed on a PIL filed in 2009 by noted jurist Ram Jethmalani and others who had claimed that Rs. 70 lakh crores of black money was stashed abroad in foreign tax havens.