Monday, 07 April 2014 |
There is talk about bringing back Indian funds illegally stashed in foreign banks. But what about the dirty money floating inside the local economy, particularly in sectors such as real estate?
On March 26, the Supreme Court rejected the Union Government’s plea to recall the court’s order to set up a Special Investigation Team, headed by its two former judges, to monitor investigations relating to black money and the flight of unaccounted amounts to foreign banks.
The court also slammed successive Governments at the Centre for “doing nothing to bring back the black money stashed away in tax havens abroad”. Indeed, it was only after six decades of independence, that at least one citizen came forward, in 2011, and complained that the Indian economy was being destroyed due to black money park in tax havens abroad.
The court said: “There will be a body (SIT) because you have failed. Were you not aware where the black money is deposited? You know it very well… Even if you have taken steps, this court being the highest court and the constitutional court can pass such an order”.
The Government has a number of agencies to deal with the problem of black money, like the Directorate General of Economic Enforcement, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the office of the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and even the Central Bureau of Investigations. But they are all parts of the larger Government machinery, and most of them cannot act on their own.
For instance, the CBI has to take permission from the Union Government before starting an inquiry against officers of the level of Joint Secretary and above. In 2013, the Union Cabinet has passed a resolution extending this shield to retired officials from the above ranks as well.
Politicians often think that the people are fools and the electorate does not see through their empty promises. One example of this is the announcement by the Congress that it will appoint a special envoy to track black money. But the Congress-led Government at the Centre has done little with the information it received regarding people who have stashed black money abroad. This is despite the fact that it has people from the Revenue and Intelligence services posted abroad in important Indian Embassies. Surely, they are doing some work.