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MODI CONSTITUTES SIT ON BLACK MONEY

Complying with the Supreme Court directive, the new government on its first day in office today constituted a special investigative team (SIT) headed by a former Supreme Court Judge to unearth black money, including in the case of Hasan Ali. M B Shah, head of the SIT that also comprises another retired Supreme Court judge Arijit Pasayat as vice-chairman, will be assisted by the Revenue Secretary, directors of CBI, IB, RAW and ED, the CBDT Chairman and an RBI deputy governor. The Supreme Court, which appointed the two judges, had last week granted the government one week to set up the SIT. The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi held its first meeting today in which it named the members of the SIT. "In the first Cabinet of the new government...in the light of the directions of the SC, we have constituted an SIT for unearthing black money... This was an important issue for us," Law and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after a one-and-a-half-hour Cabinet meeting. According to a press release, other members of the SIT are Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau, Director General of Revenue Intelligence, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit and a Joint Secretary in the Central Board of Direct Taxes. "The SIT has been charged with the responsibility and duties of investigation, initiation of proceedings and prosecution in cases of Hasan Ali and other matters involving unaccounted money," it said. The panel will have jurisdiction in cases where investigations have commenced, are pending, are waiting to be initiated or have been completed. Prasad said setting up of the SIT "indicates the commitment of the new government to pursue the issue of black money."
Prasad said that earlier, the Supreme Court had given certain orders, but there were some delays. "Tomorrow is the last date (for setting up of SIT), therefore the very first agenda in accordance with its policy commitment was to have this very high-profile SIT," he said. The SIT will also prepare a comprehensive action plan, including creation of an institutional structure that could enable the country to fight the battle against unaccounted money. It should report on the status of its work to the court from time to time, the statement added. 

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