SIT to submit status report on 627 Indians with foreign bank accounts by December 3

New Delhi, October 29: Supreme Court has directed the special team to receive a  sealed envelope with the names of 627 Indians holding bank accounts overseas, against whom a probe is on to ascertain conformity with domestic tax laws.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Justice M.B. Shah, with Justice Arijit Pasayat as vice chair, was called for by the Supreme Court by way of an order July 4, 2011, and officially notified by the government end-May this year.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Justice M.B. Shah, with Justice Arijit Pasayat as vice chair, was called for by the Supreme Court by way of an order July 4, 2011, and officially notified by the government end-May this year.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted the envelope along with two others to a bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, and Justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Madan B. Lokur on Wednesday, as sought by them a day earlier.

Mukul Rohatgi

The other two envelopes pertain to information furnished by the French government and the action taken by the Government of India thus far in trying to get back the illegal funds parked by Indians in overseas banks and estimated at between $426 billion and $1.4 trillion.

Directing further hearing on the matter to December 3, the apex court said the special team, by that time, would submit its status report on the steps taken by it in pursuance to this list of 627 account holders.

Rohatgi told the apex court that half of these account holders were Indian residents and the other half non-resident Indians and pertained to a period up to 2006. He said action was initiated, with some of having paid the taxes and others under investigation. He further requested on behalf of the government that care be taken such that nothing impedes the Indian authorities and probe agencies in getting information from these countries and others on foreign accounts in future.
Importantly, he said, the Income Tax Act had been amended to extend the limitation period for recovering taxes from these account holders till March 31, 2015. Earlier, the limitation period was six years and would have expired in 2012.

Rohatgi once again told the apex court that the government had no intention to hold back any information or names it had in its possession on this matter and was open to inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Income Tax authorities or any other agency.

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