No citizen of India should be allowed to keep more than INR 15 lakh in cash at home, said a team of experts appointed by the Supreme Court to tackle the issue of black money effectively.
The panel comprising retired judges and bureaucrats was formed as a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to make sure that the Union government can trace Indians who have stored untaxed money in foreign bank accounts.
The SIT has suggested that the government should soon enact a new law or change existing laws to ensure that officials can seize the assets and properties of tax violators without too many legal hiccups.
The SIT has also recommended the amendment of laws to impose a cash limit of INR 15 lakh per individual.
The Supreme Court has been closely monitoring government’s each and every move to identify and penalize Indians with black money in foreign accounts since 2009. The issue was highlighted by senior lawyer and ex-BJP leader Ram Jethmalani through a petition.
The current NDA regime led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised that if he took office, the government will take every possible measure to settle the issue of black money once and for all. As part of this agenda, Prime Minister Modi formed the SIT right after taking office. The previous Congress-led UPA government had unsuccessfully argued in the court that there was no need for an SIT to be formed.
In November, 2014, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated that as many as 250 Indians had already admitted of maintaining an account at HSBC in Geneva. Last year, France gave India a list of approximately 600 citizens with accounts in HSBC, Geneva. The list was based on the data leaked by a bank employee.
The Supreme Court has asked the government to investigate each individual mentioned in the list.