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Black money probe to be expanded to include new names: M B Shah

The SIT probing black money will widen the scope of its investigation to include the new names that figure…

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The SIT probing black money will widen the scope of its investigation to include the new names that figure in the list of account holders in HSBC’s Swiss arm released by an international body of journalists, its chairman M B Shah said today.

“Definitely, the scope of investigation will be widened due to the new names. We will have to identify those names and scrutinise them,” Justice (retd) Shah told PTI.

He, however, said legal action can be taken against individuals only after verifying the facts and not just on the basis of news reports.

“SIT will first verify the facts. We can’t take action just on the basis of news reports. We will first verify the claims from our side and then take legal action,” he said.

He said there are new names in the list released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and published in The Indian Express.

“As per the reports published today, there are some old names, which we already have, and there are some new names of account holders,” Shah said, adding the SIT will discuss the development at its meeting today.

According to the report, 1,195 Indians, nearly double the old list of 628 shared by the French government with India, figure in the HSBC list with a total balance of Rs 25,420 crore.

Many of the names have been in the public domain, but there are some new additions, including those of corporate leaders, politicians and NRIs.

As the release of the fresh list created a storm, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the veracity of the new names of Indians with Swiss bank accounts will be checked, while 60 prosecutions have already been launched by the tax authorities.

The black money stashed abroad was one of major issues in last year’s Lok Sabha elections and, in the first decision after assuming office, the Narendra Modi government had on May 27 constituted a special investigative team (SIT) to unearth it following a Supreme Court directive.

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