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Black Money Probe Put on Fast Track, Final Action by March

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NEW DELHI: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has asked its tax sleuths to put black money investigations on the fast track and quickly gather all foreign-based evidences against Indian individuals who feature in the infamous HSBC list and have allegedly stashed ill-gotten wealth in tax havens abroad and render final action by March-end.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said that proceedings in these cases will be completed by March 31, 2015.

Under the larger ambit of the probe against black money, the tax department and other agencies including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing cases involving unaccounted wealth totalling Rs 14,957.95 crore in the country.

“All I-T investigation units have been asked to process foreign requests for exchange of information on these cases by February 15. These cases are getting time-barred with the end of the current financial year. The CBDT has issued directives to speed up probe in these cases and quickly send them across to foreign shores,” sources claimed.The latest development relates to the disclosure of names by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money in the HSBC’s bank branch in Geneva, provided by the French government to India a few years back, in which names of 628 Indians had figured with a total amount of Rs 4,479 crore being held in them.
Sources said the exclusive Exchange of Information (EOI) unit under the foreign tax wing of the CBDT has asked the I-T department to specifically focus on cases getting ‘time barred by March 31’ so that legal requests could be sent to countries like the US, the UK, Switzerland and Gulf.

The SIT, headed by retired Supreme Court judge M B Shah along with Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat, had also stated in their last report submitted to the apex court in December last that these cases will be brought to their logical and legal conclusion by the said deadline.

The SIT, in the said report, had stated that out of the total 628 entities, no balance has been found in cases of 289 accounts.

“Out of the 628 persons, 201 are either non-residents or non-traceable, leaving 427 persons’ cases as actionable cases,” the report said which was released as part of the “relevant portion of the second report of SIT on black money” by the government.

The report had said that the amount involved in these cases is about Rs 4,479 crore. “Of this, the I-T department has finalised assessment for 79 entities involving more than 300 cases,” it said.

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