In a major development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the central government to reveal by Wednesday the names of all Indian account holders in foreign banks.
Resuming its hearing in the black money case, the SC pulled up government for seeking modification of its order on disclosing names of account holders in foreign banks.
New regime at Centre can’t ask modification of order when it was passed in an open court and accepted by the government, the apex court said.
The apex court also ordered the government to just pass the information of account holders and that it would give order for further probe.
The direction came a day after the NDA government released eight names against whom it has started prosecution for allegedly stashing black money in foreign banks. Of the eight, three of them were said to have bank account in foreign banks.
However, the government came under criticism both from within and the Opposition for being ‘selective’ in revealing the names.
Following this, the Supreme Court also questioned the government as to why it was providing protective umbrella to foreign bank account holders.
We can’t leave the issue of bringing back black money to government. It will never happen during our time, the SC said in its judgement.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday evening said that the government has no problem in disclosing any names. “The government has no difficulty in placing the entire list and the same will be placed before the court tomorrow,” he said.
Jaitley added that the government shall place the list before the court. “The government has already given the list to the court constituted Special Investigating Team on June 27. The government is keen that by whatever procedure in accordance with law we must get to the root of the matter,” the Finance Minister said.
Jaitley said that the list will be given to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope. However, he refrained from commenting whether the government is ready open to make the names public.
“The truth about these names and also these accounts must come out so that penal action can be taken against the people and the money lying there can be brought back to India,” Jaitley said.
He also denied that the government was not protecting anyone by and agreed that law must be followed. “There is nobody the government wants to protect in this case so that those whose names have come must really be investigated and punished according to law,” he said.
“The government is also keen that the procedure followed must be such that the reciprocating countries continue to cooperate with India,” he added.
On Monday, the government named Pradip Burman (former director, Dabur India Limited), Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya (Rajkot-based bullion trader) and Radha S Timblo (Timblo Private Limited) in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.
The affidavit, filed days after the government came under attack from political rivals that it was chary of revealing names, said that these names have been received from French authorities and other countries.