In the first cabinet meeting after taking charge of offices on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers set up a special investigation team (SIT) to unearth the black money stashed abroad.
Justice (Retired) M.B.Shah will head the SIT team, while Justice (Retired) Arijit Parsyat will be his deputy.
Law and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad confirmed the formation of SIT team after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. "In the first cabinet of the new government...in the light of the directions of the Supreme Court, we have constituted an SIT for unearthing black money. This was an important issue for us," Prasad told reporters, according to The Telegraph.
Last week, the Supreme Court had granted the government one week's time to set up an investigation team, which ends on Wednesday. Expressing satisfaction over the formation of the SIT team during the newly-formed government's first cabinet meeting, Prasad said that it "indicates the commitment of the new government to pursue the issue of black money. Tomorrow is the last date (for setting up of SIT). Therefore, the very first agenda in accordance with its policy commitment was to have this very high-profile SIT."
The high-level SIT team will reportedly include Revenue Secretary, a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and members from the Central Bureau of Investigation, Revenue Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Intelligence Bureau, Financial Intelligence Unit, Research Analysis Wing and Economic Intelligence.
An official statement said that the SIT "has been charged with the responsibility and duties of investigation, initiation of proceedings and prosecution in cases of Hasan Ali and other matters involving unaccounted money."
"SIT shall have jurisdiction in the cases where investigations have already commenced or are pending or awaiting to be initiated or have been completed. SIT will prepare a comprehensive action plan including creation of necessary institutional structure that could enable the country to fight the battle against unaccounted money. The SIT should report to the court the status of work from time to time," the statement read.
Gorkhdam Train Accident
In the meeting, the cabinet condoled the death of passengers in Monday's Gorkhdam train accident and also observed two-minute silence for the victims.
The Prime Minister had deputed Union cabinet minister Kalraj Mishra and minister of state Manoj Sinha to visit the accident spot. He had sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of ₹2 lakh each for those who died in the accident and ₹50,000 each for those seriously injured.
The cabinet is expected to meet again on Wednesday to decide on the dates for the first parliamentary session of the newly-elected Lok Sabha.