Former Supreme Court judge Justice MB Shah, who is to head the Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the black money issue on Wednesday said there are a number of “complexities” involved but asserted he will ensure a speedy probe.
The Narendra Modi Cabinet at its very first meeting yesterday announced that a SIT headed by Shah will be constituted to unearth black money.
“A number of complexities would be there, but at present it is difficult for me to say which complexities I would face. But I will try to solve them as early as possible,” Justice (retd) Shah said.
Asked about the past record of delays in submission of inquiry commission/committee reports, the former judge said he will try to “finish the work as early as possible.”
“I was the Chairman of a Commission on illegal mining of iron ore (in Odisha and Goa). I submitted the first interim report within two months (of starting probe).”
“Thereafter, the Goa report within six months. And thereafter the further report of Odisha in next six months. So I am sure that I will finish the work (probe in black money issue) as early as possible,” he said.
Shah said he would be firm in dealing with big political and corporate personalties if they are found to be involved in stashing away black money in foreign banks.
“I have worked for many years as a judge – 15 years as a high court judge and then five years as a Supreme Court judge. I have never bothered about personalities and nobody has dared to touch me. It is as good as that. Do not worry about it,” he said.
He was asked how he would deal with the issue when big corporate and political personalities are said to be involved in stashing unaccounted wealth overseas.
On the initiative to set up the SIT, he said it was a direction of the Supreme Court and it had to be obeyed by the government.
“The matter was pending for the last two years. Thereafter, a stay order was granted on a review petition. The stay was vacated 15 days ago. Last week, the Supreme Court directed a probe into the issue as early as possible,” Shah said.
“Once the Supreme Court direction came, the government was bound to follow it. Once the review petition was dismissed, there was no alternative for any government. For the new government too it was (imperative) to find out black money.”
The SIT also comprises another former Supreme Court judge Arijit Pasayat as Vice-Chairman, and will be assisted by the Revenue Secretary, Directors of CBI, IB, RAW and ED, the CBDT Chairman and an RBI Deputy Governor.