Black money: SIT widens probe as new names emerge

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Ahmedabad/New Delhi, Feb 9: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money today decided to widen its probe as new names of Indians with Swiss bank accounts have come up but made it clear that legal action will be taken only after verifying facts.

"Definitely, the scope of investigation will be widened due to the new names. We will have to identify those names and scrutinise them," SIT Chairman Justice (retd) M B Shah told PTI in Ahmedabad.

Black Money

He, however, said legal action can be taken against individuals only after verifying the facts and not just on the basis of news reports.

"SIT will first verify the facts. We can't take action just on the basis of news reports. We will first verify the claims from our side and then take legal action," he said.

He said, as per the reports published today, there are "some old names, which we already have, and there are some new names of account holders."

Meanwhile, in Delhi, SIT Vice-Chairman Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat, after holding a meeting of the high-powered panel, said it "will consider all new cases where there is evidence of black money."

"If any new names come and whichever way we have authentic information, we will act on it," he said after the over two-hour long meeting where existing cases of this nature were also reviewed.

The new names reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said their records, which were apparently obtained through leaks from a Geneva-based branch of HSBC bank, show that there are 1,668 Indians on it while the number of actionable cases stands at 1,195 after taking into account duplication and some other factors.

Collectively, these accounts had a balance of USD 4.1 billion (Rs 25,420 crore) till 2007. "There are some new names in the ICIJ list. But they are not many.

It is estimated that this new disclosure and few others which are being tracked by tax sleuths for sometime now will lead to obtaining some 100 new names/cases.

Whether they are illegal or not will be the work of investigation," official sources privy to the developments in SIT said.


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