The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed Justice (retd) MB Shah as the chairman of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to investigate the stashing away of black money in foreign banks and suggest ways to bring it back to India.
Shah replaced Justice (retd) BP Jeevan Reddy, who had expressed his inability to undertake the task due to personal reasons. The apex court July 4, 2011, had appointed Justice Reddy and Justice Shah as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the SIT mandated to undertake the investigation into unaccounted money stashed away outside the country and on formulating steps to bring it back.
The SIT was also asked to probe the Liechtenstein bank accounts of Indian citizens whose names were revealed by Germany. The bench of Justice HL Dattu, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Madan B Lokur also appointed former apex court judge Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat as its vice chairman.
The court order came on a plea by Ram Jethmalani, saying that the government was not carrying out the directions of the court even though operation of the July 4, 2011, order was not stayed.
The July 4, 2011 order setting up the SIT was passed on a petition by Jethmalani. The court reiterated its July 4, 2011, direction to the government to issue appropriate notification on the constitution of the SIT, and that it would commence its work as early as possible.
However, the court declined to pass any order on Jethmalani's plea asking the SIT to submit a status report of its investigations, saying it would hold the next hearing Aug 20 and only then it would see if there is any report on the progress of investigation. The July 4, 2011, court order said the SIT would submit periodic status reports to keep the apex court informed of all major developments.
The court also said the government would provide all information and documents to Jethmalani with respect to 18 people against whom investigation has been completed and prosecution launched by the Income Tax department, and another eight against whom no tax violation was found.
The 26 names are from among those holding accounts in Liechtenstein. The government had submitted the names to the court.