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devkmrer posted a question in Ask for RTI SupportDear SirThis is to inform you regarding Mr. Mehmood Malik S/o Mohammed Akbar residing in I-18 DDA Flats Turkman Gate New Delhi 110006 who has evaded Income Tax Returns to the tune of 24-30 Crores and has recently demonetized Black Money in cash unto 3-4 crores in new currency notes. Moreover, he possess crores of unaccountable cash & gold jewelry. For years, he has evaded Income Tax through undisclosed black income and has strategically invested his black money in multiple benami properties such as 2-3 houses & 3 shops in Turkman Gate, Asaf Ali Road New Delhi. Apart from that, he also possess illegal properties through black money hoarding in Connaught Place and Zakir Nagar. He has converted his black money in old notes into new currency and parked his funds at bank accounts in Indian Overseas Bank Prakash Deep Building Tolstoy Marg New Delhi. He has committed multiple criminal offense by filing false & deceptive statements under provision of Section 239 under Income Tax Act. He is involved with black money, illegal assets, filed false Income Tax returns, evaded taxes & possess unaccountable wealth invested in cash, jewelry & various properties in New Delhi. Please do the needful as he is involved with multiple illegal & criminal acts & violated sections under Income Tax Act & Black Money through undisclosed Income & unaccountable illegal assets.Thank YouDevender Kumar
From an email received from Mr Venkatesh Nayak: Dear all, The Government of India has published in the Official Gazette the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Special Investigation Team it has set up to investigate the issue of black money stashed abroad by Indians (2nd attachment). The setting up of the SIT amounts to a welcome reversal of previous government policy on this subject. The previous Government had opposed this direction despite a clear order from the Supreme Court in 2011. The SIT will be headed by Justice (Retd.) M B Shah with Justice Arijit Pasayat as Vice-Chair. The rest of the members are the same ex officio senior bureaucrats who were part of the High Level Committee set up by the previous Government to look into the cases of persons who were said to have stashed away money in foreign banks abroad. The Joint Secy. (Revenue) has been added to this list as Member Secretary of the SIT. This SIT is an outcome of the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Ram Jethmalani and Ors. vs Union of India and Ors., (2011) 8 SCC 1- judgement delivered in July 2011. It is also interesting to note that with the exception of the retired judges and bureaucrats of the Finance Ministry, all other members are representatives of organisations notified under the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) which are not required to furnish any information other than that pertaining to allegations of corruption or violation of human rights.However, in my opinion, as the SIT has been set up by a notification of the Central Government and as it will be wholly financed by the same Government, it will be a public authority under the RTI Act. Terms of Reference seemingly omit an important Court direction: While going through the ToR, I found that a crucial direction given by the Supreme Court in July 2011 is missing form the Gazette notification published by the Central Government. On page 66 of its judgement the Apex Court had ordered two more things to be done by the SIT in addition to what it said on pages 38-42 (1st attachment): 1) that the SIT must take over the investigation of individuals with bank accounts in Liechtenstein as disclosed by Germany to India and expeditiously conduct the same; and 2) SIT should review concluded matters also to assess whether investigations have been thoroughly and properly conducted or not and if they conclude that there is scope for further investigation they should proceed further. On 01 May this year the Central Government had said that investigations had been concluded against 18 of the 26 individuals that had bank accounts in Liechtenstein. These names were received from Germany and investigation had concluded in 17 cases. No evidence was found against 8 individuals and the investigation had been concluded against them. You will find this information in the daily order of the Apex Court at: http://judis.nic.in/temp/17620093152014p.txt So technically the ToR should have included reopening of these cases also to assess whether everything was properly done and if there is any need to proceed further. The current ToR published in the Gazette do not explicitly refer to these two directions. However I hope the SIT in its wisdom will interpret its mandate broadly to cover these directions as well and make up for what probably is an omission due to oversight. Importance of this case to RTI Readers who have gone through the Supreme Court's judgement and those who may like to read it now, will notice that this appeal case arose from an RTI application made by the Petitioners to disclose the names of the bank accountholders that Germany handed over to the Central Government. The previous Government adamantly refused to follow the directions of the Court to hand over to the Petitioners the names of individuals against whom investigations had been completed wholly or partially. Last month the Government handed over two sealed envelopes containing the names of the accountholders to the Court. The Court again directed that the names be handed over to the Petitioners. These names have not been made public by the Government, officially, till date. There is no reference to this direction in the ToR of the SIT either. The NDA Government could change policy in this regard as well and publicise the names contained in the sealed envelopes, as it would only be dutifully following the directions of the Court. Such a step would demonstrate the NDA Government's commitment to transparency as a real one going beyond mere public relations exercises. This case is also of great use for all RTI users and activists who receive rejection orders from Public Information Officers (PIOs) and First Appellate Authorities on the ground that contracts with private parties contain confidentiality clauses and cannot be disclosed under the RTI Act. In this case also the Government of India, under the United Progressive Alliance, refused to make the names of the accountholders public saying that Germany had handed over their names to Indian authorities under a tax agreement that contains a 'confidentiality' clause. The Apex Court examined the relevant clause of the treaty and came to the following conclusion: 1) that the tax agreement did not prohibit disclosure of information provided by one signatory to another if it was required in a judicial proceeding; and 2) that confidentiality clauses contained in international treaties and agreements are not to be interpreted as set in stone. Instead they must be tested against the concept and practice of the rule of law guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and most importantly the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1) and the right to seek redress for violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 32 of the Constitution. The confidentiality clause would be tolerated only if it matched any of the grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) for imposing reasonable restrictions on the citizens' right to freedom of speech and expression. As RTI is a deemed fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a), it can also be restricted only on grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) and the RTI Act but no other ground would be valid. Readers will recognise that the Indian Government signs bilateral or multilateral treaties and agreements in exercise of its sovereign functions. When confidentiality clauses contained in such agreements are subject to the fundamental right to free speech and expression and consequently RTI, confidentilaity clauses contained in commercial agreements with private parties that public authorities enter into during the routine course of government business must also be interpreted along the same lines. The mere existence of a 'confidentiality' clause in a contract with one or more private parties is not enough to reject a request for copies of the contract under the RTI Act. This is a landmark interpretation of the Apex Court and if applied in letter and spirit can open up to public scrutiny a whole range of contracts and agreements that the Government signs with private parties. Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) agreements would have to meet this test before the public authority concerned can refuse access to such agreements. I hope readers will watch with great interest how transparently the SIT will be functioning in the days to come. Kindly circulate this email widely. Thanks RamJethmalni-v-UnionofIndia-SCI-Jul11.pdf BlackMoney-SIT-ToR-May14.pdf
manimmc posted a question in Ask for RTI SupportI want to know the IT returns filed by a person for the years 2007 through 2013 as I know that this person is hiding close to 85 Lakhs black money. Is the income tax department exempted under the RTI act in this regard? Thanks in advance
As reported by Pradeep Thakur in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 29 April 2013: e-paper Sign-in Anti-black money dept left toothless Govt Winds Up Directorate Of Criminal Investigation; Last Raid Was In 2012 New Delhi: A year after the UPA presented a white paper on black money in the Parliament, spelling out a strategy to curb generation of illicit money and preventing its offshore flight, one of the most potent weapons created to tackle the menace and bring offenders to book — the income tax department’s directorate of criminal investigation (DCI) — stands dismantled and powerless. The last search-and-survey operation, better known as I-T raids, conducted by the DCI was on March 30, 2012 — almost two months before then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee presented the white paper and assured Parliament that the government had set up requisite institutions to weed out black money. The DCI’s last raid, carried out against United Stock Exchange, a privately-held company allegedly engaged in money laundering activities, had unearthed fictitious transactions of more than Rs 400 crore. Earlier, there was another probe into Indians holding accounts in HSBC Bank, Geneva, in which the DCI had questioned some industrialists and put on notice some Cabinet ministers and other politicians after their linkages came to light during the course of investigation, though the government later denied in the Parliament that the DCI had unearthed any transactions related to MPs. The probe had started against these high-profile individuals after information about Indians’ deposits in HSBC Bank, Geneva, was shared by France. Soon, the HSBC investigation was taken away from the DCI and distributed to different directors-general of I-T investigation units in different cities with no single directorate aware of all the cases. The probe, thereafter, was directly supervised by finance ministry officials. Within two months of the UPA’s assurance to the Lok Sabha, the government had started dismantling the DCI by first shifting out its director-general, a woman IRS officer M Sailo, who was given additional charge of I-T Intelligence and the freedom to bring in officers of her choice to shape the agency as per its mandate. As per the charter, besides investigative units placed at different locations, the DCI was mandated to raise a fullyarmed unit equipped with trained manpower and weapons and infrastructure to deal with white-collar criminals and terrorists on land, sea and in air. But within months of the DG’s transfer in June 2012, all her team members, directors and additional directors were given marching orders, and by the year-end, DCI had a completely new set-up. Sailo was shifted as chief commissioner to look into manpower issues of the I-T department, while some of her juniors were shunted to the audit section and in I-T appellate tribunals. With a new DG in place, the government took away the DCI’s exclusive mandate to investigate foreign bank accounts of Indians and the agency was no longer responsible for carrying out searchand-survey operations. The probe against account-holders of HSBC Bank, Geneva, was also taken away from the agency and it was asked not to meddle with other probes. There was no formal communication to this effect though.