Budget provisions to check black money much needed: SIT
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Budget provisions to check blackmoney much needed: SIT

Last Updated: Monday, March 2, 2015, 08:18

Budget provisions to check blackmoney much needed: SIT

New Delhi: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has welcomed the announcements made in the Budget to tackle menace of illegal funds and similar assets stashed abroad even as it cautioned that good results in this direction would come only after new laws and measures are implemented in a proper manner.

"The measures (that were announced in Budget) are very good. Almost all provisions (as suggested by SIT and otherwise) have been made...(in the speech delivered by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley). These measures will make it easier and better to find out the instances of illegal money and these were much needed.

"But, how it is implemented (the budget announcements) this has to be seen. It is good to know that it has been said that any cash transaction beyond Rs 1 lakh should have a PAN number (to be furnished). This is a very good thing," SIT Chairman Justice (retd) M B Shah told PTI.

Jaitley, yesterday during the announcement of the Union Budget, declared the government's proposal for a comprehensive law to check the menace by providing for a jail term upto 10 years for hiding foreign assets.

The Minister also said a host of other tough measures including dis-incentivising of cash dealings in real estate and other transactions will be put in place.

"We (SIT) are happy about the Budget proposals. All these measures will actually boost our efforts (in unearthing and combating black money). It (Budget) is very happening...Now SIT will have some tip to go behind them (tax evaders) who have undisclosed income. It will also have more deterrent effect as there are harsher penalties and prosecution," Vice-Chairman of the high-powered panel, Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat said.

The SIT, in its report submitted to the Supreme Court and government last year, had made suggestions on these lines to the Finance Ministry, some of which have found mention in Jaitley's speech.

Under the proposed new counter-black money law, concealment of income and assets and evasion of tax in relation to foreign assets will be prosecutable with rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Further, the offence will be made non-compoundable and the offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission.

As regards curbing domestic black money, a new and more comprehensive Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill will be introduced in the current session.

"This law will enable confiscation of benami property and provide for prosecution, thus blocking a major avenue for generation and holding of black money in the form of benami property, especially in real estate," Jaitley had said.

He also proposed to amend the Income Tax Act to prohibit "acceptance or payment" of an advance of Rs 20,000 or more in cash for purchase of immovable property.

"Quoting of PAN is being made mandatory for any purchase or sale exceeding the value of Rs 1 lakh. The third party reporting entities would be required to furnish information about foreign currency sales and cross border transactions," he had said.

The Finance Minister also said appropriate amendments will be made in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) so that the assets of money launderers and violators of forex laws could be seized, attached and put under prosecution.

The SIT has 11 members in the panel who are the heads or top officials of central investigative and enforcement agencies of the country.

The panel was notified by the government last year on the directions of the Supreme Court and is mandated to lead India's fight against the menace, especially to check illegal assets of Indians stashed abroad.

The panel has held various meetings till now and has also presented two major action taken reports to the apex court and government vis-a-vis status of investigations in black money cases and recommendations for tightening laws to check the menace.


PTI

First Published: Sunday, March 1, 2015, 16:36




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