New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday clearly told the Centre that it was willing to go to any length to help the Special Investigation Team in bringing back huge amount of black money stashed in foregin banks to India.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice H L Dattu told Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran: "At the end of the day, this court wants that the black money stashed in foreign banks is accounted for and this court has taken up the cudgel. Let the court achieve in the area in which you failed.
"If the SIT feels that it cannot negotiate with the sovereign government it can come to the court and express its stand that it cannot negotiate with foreign banks or sovereign country.
"We would be the last person to say that we have failed. We would try our best to achieve our purpose", said the bench.
The court's caustic remarks came in the wake of Solicitor General Parasaran urging the bench to withdraw its July 4, 2011 order setting up an SIT headed by two retired judges of the Supreme Court to bring back the black money and to conduct a probe.
Parasaran claimed the government was taking steps and a mechanism was already in place for dealing with it.
The bench however observed: "The government is literally running away from the SIT-monitored probe. Since 1947 nobody did anything to bring back the money and disclose the names of depositors.
"Government has failed in its role for 65 years. If the money would have been brought back the economy of the country would have gone up. Per capita income would have gone up. Income tax rate which we are paying at 30 per cent would have been reduced", the bench said.
The court said: "Three years have passed but you have not done anything for the implementation of the order (regarding SIT). We had to step in as governments failed for six decades.
"Let us see the SIT will do things which this country is dreaming if.
"If you had undertaken the exercise, the need for repeated direction would not have arisen. This court in the economic interest of the country thinks that black money lying in different countries should be brought ack and the court feels that you have faile din your duty in doing so and so it gave an order for the appointment of the committee headed by former judges of this court", the bench said.
The amount of black money stashed in foreign banks differs on several counts. At Rs 61 to the US dollar, the size of offshore black money could be about $1.1 trillion, which is well over half of India's GDP estimate of $ 1.8 trillion.
Ram Jethmalani the original petitioner who had filed the PIL had assessed it at Rs 70 lakh crore, but former CBI director A P Singh's estimate is closer to $ 500 bil;lion, while The Economist of London estimates it at a fifty of India's GDP of $ 1.8 trillion.