New Delhi: In an order with far-reaching consequences, the Supreme Court Tuesday directed the central government to furnish it the names of all Indian foreign account holders given to it by the German, French and Swiss authorities.
The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the government need not do anything and just disclose the names to the court and it will decide whether the matter should be investigated by the income tax authorities or by the CBI.
As Rohatgi sought to impress upon the court that the veracity of the accounts disclosed to it is being investigated by the income tax authorities, Chief Justice Dattu said: "Why do you want to have trouble of investigating. You give it to us. We will direct the CBI or the income tax authorities to undertake investigation in a month's time."
"First give us the names, we will get them investigated. Not just one, two or three (names), give us in a sealed cover what you have got from France, German and Swiss governments."
The court asked the attorney general to furnish the names in a sealed cover by Wednesday.
Reacting to Supreme Court's observations, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that government will disclose all names to the SC tomorrow. Jaitley clarified that the government is not trying to defend anybody.