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SIT puts UPA in the dock on black money

New Delhi, Aug 22 (): Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has blamed the erstwhile UPA Government saying due to its faulty conditions in obtaining information on tax evaders under DTTA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement), the German authorities could give only 30 names when it had the list of 1,400 Indians.

The SIT revelation was made in a sealed cover given to the court, headed by ex-Supreme Court judges MB Shah and Arijit Pasayat. The SIT has heads of RAW, IB, DRI, CBI and ED officials of the Government — it further told the court that scrutiny of all big ticket imports, particularly those related to power plant equipment shows heavy over-invoicing.

SIT has suggested that all imports below Rs 10,000 crore done in the past must be re-examined for possibility of over-invoicing. After Supreme Court’s order, this is the first report of the SIT which was set up by the Modi government.

According to the SIT report, 30 names of Indians holding black money accounts in Liechtenstein Bank were provided by the German authorities though it had a list of 1,400 Indians. It was not able to share the information with India as the information sought was by UPA on two conditions — one, it had to come under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and secondly, information of the past was not to be shared. This resulted in German under-reporting of information.

SIT will submit its next report on November 11. Ram Jethmalani, who filed the PIL on black money, had argued that the route of DTAA adopted by the UPA Government was a clandestine way to avoid information. His counsel agreed that UPA should ask information under the UN Convention Against Corruption to which countries like Germany were parties. India was part of the Convention in 2005 and ratified it in 2011.

SIT asked NDA to review treaties on financial matters and see that bottlenecks are removed. Jethmalani informed the Court that he visited Germany in March this year and met officials in the German Finance Ministry; he wrote letters to the German Finance department due to which more information was given to India.