‘Trapping black money in India main focus’

Cuttack: Vice Chairman of Special Investigation Team (SIT) and former Supreme Court Judge Justice Arijit Pasayat on Saturday said the main focus of SIT would be to trap and stop the generation of black money in India.

“The volume of black money stashed away in India is much more than it is now in the foreign countries. If the generation of black money is stopped, its flow to the foreign countries will be substantially less”, he told the media persons after presiding over a high-level meeting with senior state and Central government officials at his residence in the city.

“There are allegations about huge transaction of money being made under the table by some charitable trusts and educational institutions which are of serious concern. These allegations are under the scrutiny of the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) who have take taken steps in some cases,” he pointed out.

To a question on the investigation into the chit fund and mining scams in Odisha, Justice Pasayat said in the chit fund cases, the role of ED is more important than the Income Tax department.

“With regard to mining scam, SIT is currently probing Income Tax and money laundering aspects. We are gradually moving ahead with our investigtion. We have started investigation in Odisha, Goa, Bengaluru where we have received positive responses”, he added.

Asked whether SIT would take up investigation into the stacking of minerals found in and around Renjeda railway siding at Koida in Sundergarh district, Justice Pasayat said the matter is now with the state Mines department. “The cause of action will arise only after the Mines department examines the quality of the minerals. Since the department has not taken steps till date, it will not be proper to say anything on this matter,” he said.

Talking about the mining sector, he said he has suggested modification in the H1 form. “If the requirements in the H1 form can be broadbased, we would be able to get more information on those engaged in mineral trading, export or import of minerals, mineral stocking or end use consumption of minerals,” he added.

Replying to some new suggestions he has given to the concerned officials at the meeting, Justice Pasayat said, “We are giving suggestions and holding meetings with them on how to implement these suggestions effectively”.

He also said the SIT, in its three previous reports, had highlighted some new angles notably, trade-based money laundering, for investigation into the banks where huge foreign remittance has been made. “We have also received information regarding trade-based money laundering in some other banks. The investigation is now in a preliminary stage. It is a complex process and we are making efforts to streamline our investigation into the matter.

To a question on whether the concerned departments have submitted their reports to him in the last meeting held on September 27, Justice Pasayat said he has received information on the so-called godmen of Odisha.

“The police are now probing into the modus operandi of these godmen while the officials of the Income Tax department and the ED are examining various angles of these cases”, he said.

“I had asked these departments to share information among them and as per the direction, they are doing the needful”, he informed.

Senior officials of the Crime Branch, CBI, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Income Tax and Commercial Tax were present at the meeting.