Monday, July 4, 2011

SC appoints SIT to bring back black money

Black money issue: SC appoints SIT headed by Justice Reddy

  Supreme Court has appointed a high-level SIT headed by former apex court judge B P Jeevan Reddy to monitor the investigation and the steps being taken to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks.Besides Justice Reddy, who will be the chairman of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), the apex court on Monday also appointed its former judge, Justice M B Shah as the vice-chairman of the panel.A bench comprising justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar on Monday directed that the High-Level Committee (HLC) constituted by the government to look into the issue of black money would "forthwith" be a part of the SIT.
The bench also directed the government to disclose the names of all the persons who have been issued show cause notices by the authorities in connection with the probe into the black money issue.The court, however, made it clear that the authorities would not disclose the names of those who have not been investigated in connection with deposits made in foreign banks including Liechtenstein bank.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani and others seeking directions to the government to track black money stashed away abroad and bring it back.
The apex court directed the government to issue notification forthwith regarding the appointment of SIT and ordered that government machinery to cooperate with it.
The bench, while passing the order, made some hard-hitting observation against the Centre for its "failure" to take proper action against people who have illegally stashed away money in foreign banks.
Observing the phenomenon of black money as "extremely dangerous to the country", the court said the quantum of money in foreign banks is a rough measure of "weakness" and "softness" of the nation.The bench said that it was a serious lapse on the part of the government which will have implications on the country's external and internal security."We must express serious reservation on the steps taken by the government...It's clear to us that investigation was completely stalled and expedited only after the court's intervention.
"It was only upon this court's insistence that proper investigation was conducted," the bench said while referring to Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan's case.There was much to be desired," the court said, adding there was a need for it to get involved in the case."We hold that continued involvement of the court is necessary," the bench said, while directing the SIT to take over all the cases relating to the issue of black money and file a status report before it.Apex court also asked the SIT to submit a comprehensive action plan to deal with cases relating to the black money issue.Justifying its decision to constitute the SIT, the bench said that in previous cases also the court has been passing such orders to fulfil its constitutional obligation.
The court also said that it's not possible for it to be involved in day-to-day investigations in the case as the resources at its disposal were scarce.The bench said the issue of black money has to be taken with a degree of seriousness and the state is primarily responsible to make all efforts to bring back into the country such wealth and punish people who have stashed away money in foreign banks.The court observed that unaccounted money going to foreign banks from the country was a reflection of incapacity of its authorities to collect taxes which is their constitutional obligation."These in capacities go to the very heart of poor governance," the bench observed, adding the wealth going to foreign banks might cause substantial damage to the country as it could be used for unlawful activities.
During earlier hearing, the government had told the court that it had constituted HLC headed by the Revenue Secretary.
It included directors of CBI, Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Chairman of CBDT, Director General of Revenue Intelligence, Director General of Narcotics Control, Director of Foreign Intelligence Office (FIO) and Joint Secretary of Foreign Trade.The functioning of the HLC was questioned by the apex court during the hearing on 12th May.
The bench had expressed surprise on why charge sheet filed by ED against Hasan Ali Khan in a money laundering case was not placed before the HLC which was appointed by the government to counter the plea for setting up of SIT to monitor the probe.
Justice Jeevan Reddy, who will head the SIT, had been elevated to the apex court in October 1991 and retired in March 1997.
After his retirement, he was appointed chairman of the 15th Law Commission of India.
He continued as chairman of the 16th Law Commission of India but resigned in 2001.
Justice Reddy has also headed several key sub-panels of the National Commission to Review Working of the Constitution (NCRWC), set up under the chair-personship of former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachaliah.
The NCRWC was established by the erstwhile Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government in February 2000 to report on various anomalies existing in law and the Constitution.
Justice M B Shah, who will form part of the panel, had become an apex court judge in December 1998 and retired in September 2003. Media agencies

Djokovic win Wimbledon title

Novak Djokovic underlined his rise to the top of tennis world Sunday, overpowering defending Champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 for his maiden Wimbledon title.

The Serb took nearly two-and-a-half hours to end Nadal's domination at the hallowed turf where he was on a 20 match winning streak.
It was Djokovic's third major title, having won the Australian Open in 2008 and earlier this year. He will also be the new number one, leaving Nadal at number two and breaking the seven-year domination of Roger Federer and Nadal at the top.
Djokovic is enjoying an astonishing run this year and has won 48 matches with his only loss coming against Roger Federer in the French Open semifinal.
It's was also Djokovic's fifth straight win over the Spaniard, all in title clashes.
Nadal was aiming for his 11th major and third Wimbledon title.
Djokovic is the first from his country to capture a Wimbledon title. As a Nadal backhand sailed over the baseline, Djokovic fell flat on his back before coming to terms with the victory.
'It is the best day of my life,' Djokovic said. 'This is the tournament I always dreamed of winning. I think I am still sleeping, still dreaming. When you're playing the best player in the world, I had to be on top of my game. I played probably my best match on grass courts ever,' he said.
Djokovic was flawless on serve and moved 5-4 and then stepped up his game to clsoe out the first set. At love-30 down, Djokovic struck two brilliant winners, one on each flank. Nadal then netted forehand to give the Serb his first set point that he converted.
Djokovic was relentless from the baseline, finding the angles that had Nadal scurring for the corners. Djokovic controlled the rallies, hitting deep and making Nadal commit errors. He carried on the momentum and raced through the second set.
Nadal then fought back with vengeance. He counterattacked and broke Djokovic early in the third set. Nadal then won three service games to love and again broke Djokovic for a second time when the Serb made his first double fault.
Djokovic went 2-0 up in the fourth set. He first survived a break point to hold serve and then a perfect drop volley set up another break of the Nadal serve. Nadal's response was to break Djokovic and to go on to level at 2-2 but the tough Spaniard was slowly showing signs of cracking down in the tense fourth set. Nadal dropped his serve in the eighth game, and Djokovic served out the match.
A gentleman as ever, Nadal took the defeat in his stride. 'I'd like to compliment Novak for his performance today and his amazing season. Wimbledon is the most special tournament. I can imagine how Novak feels.'

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