Black money case: SC favours setting up SIT

New Delhi: Wanting to get to the bottom of the trail of black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks, the Supreme Court on Friday favoured setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT), saying the issue is "wider" and asked the Centre to come up with its possible composition.

A bench headed by Justice B Sudershan Reddy asked the government to make its stand clear on setting up an SIT comprising officers from different departments including the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and the IT to look into it.

"We are not talking about one case but many cases are involved in it. This is much wider," the bench said.

"In principle, do you have any objection to setting up of SIT to look into the matter?" the bench asked the government.

It told the Centre and the petitioners to respond on the next date of hearing on March 28 about its stand and the possible composition of the SIT.

"Before we discuss this issue, both of you (the government and the petitioners) tell us about possible composition of SIT, if the need arises, for setting up the same," the court said.

The court was hearing a petition filed by noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and some former bureaucrats seeking the court`s direction to the government to bring black money stashed by Indian nationals in foreign banks, which is said to be to the tune of 1 trillion US dollars.

Besides Jethmalani, five others, including former Punjab DGP K P S Gill and former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap who are petitioners, have alleged that the government was not taking action to bring the back black money stashed in foreign banks.

NGO People`s Political Front and former top cop Julio F Riberio are also among the petitioners.

Earlier, the court had expressed displeasure over the government`s reluctance in coming forward with full information on the black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks, saying keeping national wealth abroad amounted to "plunder" of the country.

The court had also asked the government to track the source of the blackmoney which might have originated from arms deals, drug trafficking and smuggling.