After Supreme Court rap, Centre comes up with black money list
The Centre fell in line a week after the Supreme Court stepped up attack for not divulging names of Indians who have allegedly stashed black money in foreign banks despite repeated order since 2011, and submitted names of 18 individuals procured from German authorities.
While names of 17 against whom prosecution has been initiated by the Income Tax Department were revealed (one of the 18 has died), name of eight others against whom there was “no proof of tax evasion” was found has been filed in a sealed cover before the court.
Slamming the Centre on April 22, a Bench headed by Justice H.L. Dattu had even threatened to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the revenue secretary if the order was not immediately complied.
But eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, the petitioner in the case who has demanded that Rs.70 lakh crore worth of black money deposited by Indians should be brought home and the persons be named, is not satisfied. “What has been disclosed are all insignificant names. As expected they have left out the big fish. They are protecting them for some reason and majority of the 18 persons whose name has been made public are from a particular state. You can draw your own conclusions on the political motive,” Anil Divan, the senior lawyer representing Jethmalani, told MAIL TODAY. “Why are the eight names in a sealed cover? If they have been found to be innocent why not make their names public?” Divan asked. The court said it will consider on Thursday making their names public too.
The names, listed in Centre’s affidavit, include Mohan Manoj Dhupelia, Ambrish Manoj Dhupelia, Bhavya Manoj Dhupelia, Manoj Dhupelia and Rupal Dhupelia from Ambrunova Trust and Marline Management. Centre said that IT department also found evidence against four members of Manichi Trust. It said that prosecution has been initiated against Chandrakant Ishwarlal Gandhi, Rajesh Chandrakant Gandhi, Viraj Chandrakant Gandhi and Dhanalaxmi Chandrakant Gandhi from Ruvisha Trust.
On March 26, the Supreme Court had virtually cornered the Centre on the issue and made it clear that the SIT set up three years ago is determined to bring back black money to the country.
The court also made it clear that it is willing to go any length to help the SIT in achieving its task. “At the end of the day this court wants that the black money stashed in foreign bank is accounted for and this court has taken up the cudgel. Let the court achieve in the area in which you failed.” It also made it clear that if the SIT will feel that it cannot negotiate with the sovereign government it can come to the court and express its stand that it cannot negotiate with foreign banks or sovereign country. “We would be the last person to say that we have failed. We would try our best to achieve our purpose,” the Bench had said.
“The government is literally running away from the SIT-monitored probe. Since 1947 nobody did anything to bring back the money and disclose the names of depositors. Government has failed in its role for 65 years,” the Bench observed during a recent hearing. Meanwhile, Jethmalani also gave names of former apex court judges who could be considered for the post of chairman and vicechairman of SIT which will be looking into all cases of black money in the country. The team formed by the court in July 2011 has been a non-starter and recently former Supreme Court judge Jeevan Reddy, who was made the chairman of the team, also expressed inability to continue and urged the Bench to appoint a new chief.