Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India.Reuters

The Supreme Court has given the Union government a week's time to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the black money stashed in foreign banks by Indian citizens.

The SC on 23 May directed the government to notify a SIT to investigate the black money in foreign banks and other tax heavens. The SIT will be monitored by two retired Supreme Court judges, the court added.

The apex court has also asked the government to secure all names and documents of the account holders in the LGT Bank in Liechtenstein, Germany. The German government is understood to have shared the information and documents with its Indian counterpart.

The court instructed the Union Revenue Secretary to keep the German government-provided documents of the Indian bank accounts holders safely.

The outgoing UPA government at the Centre was asked by the SC to reveal the names of Indians, who have stashed black money in LGT Bank. Ram Jethmalani had filed a case in this regard. Instead of divulging the names of the LGT account holders from India, the UPA government had filed a plea in the SC to review its order.

But on Friday, the government did not plead the apex court for any review of the earlier order. Even the SC made it clear that there would not be any review of black money-related orders hereafter.

The Narendra Modi-led BJP government, which is set to take over power on Monday, is reportedly keen to bring back the black money stashed in foreign banks and use it on the welfare of the people. A task force in the Union Department of Revenue has already been constituted to deal with the task, according to media reports.

Modi, in his public speeches during the Lok Sabha election campaign, had stressed that a task force will be set up to recollect the black money stashed in foreign banks and other tax heavens. Once Modi assumes charge as Prime Minister, the agenda of the task force will be explained to him for further implementation.

Financial Intelligence Unit will head the newly constituted task force, media reports say. But there will not be any official announcement on the task force till Modi is sworn-in as PM.

Union government agencies, such as the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax Department and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, are said to be the members of the newly set up task force.

The task force will deal with all kinds of black money stashed in foreign banks, including Swiss banks. It will handle money amassed by individuals through corruption, money laundering, hawala and terrorist financing.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is expected to reward honest tax payers, besides spending the black money for the welfare of poor.