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FinCEN Files — Key agencies alerted on revelations, meeting soon: black money SIT head

“The SIT will convene a meeting in Ahmedabad after giving the relevant agencies some time to examine the disclosures so the matter can be taken forward,” Justice Shah told The Indian Express

110 media organisations in 88 countries teamed up with ICIJ and BuzzFeed News to trace the Indian entities and banks named in these SARs filed with FinCEN between 1999 and 2017.

The head of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money said Monday that the disclosures on “suspicious” banking transactions revealed in the FinCEN Files, the ongoing investigation by The Indian Express in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and BuzzFeed News, have been brought to the attention of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Finance Ministry and the panel would convene a meeting to discuss the import of the revelations.

Speaking to The Indian Express, former Supreme Court Judge Justice M B Shah, who is the Chairman of the SIT, said that he had, by Monday afternoon, spoken to top officials in the Revenue Department in the Finance Ministry and the CBDT about the disclosures on the Indian individuals and entities.

“The SIT will convene a meeting in Ahmedabad after giving the relevant agencies some time to examine the disclosures so the matter can be taken forward,” Justice Shah told The Indian Express.

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FinCEN Files — One more veil lifts: Suspicious bank transactions of Indians are red-flagged to top US regulator

Justice Shah added that all agencies, whose representatives are part of the SIT including the CBDT, the Enforcement Directorate , the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Reserve Bank of India, among others would be intimated when the meeting will be convened.

“We want to take this forward after all the concerned Departments have done a preliminary inquiry,” Justice Shah said.

The Vice Chairman of the SIT on black money, former Supreme Court judge, Justice Arijit Pasayat, echoed Justice Shah. “I am in agreement with what the Chairman has said,” he told The Indian Express. “The SIT will take up the revelations specific to India contained in the Fincen Files seriously and look into it.”

The SIT on black money was constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court in May 2014 and was the first major decision taken by the newly formed Modi Government.

Also Read| Swiss Leaks, Panama Papers, now SARs: bank reports that alert law-enforcement agencies

It was empowered to examine all black money cases —where investigations had been completed or had already commenced and were ongoing or where they were pending. The SIT has since submitted several reports to the Government and was, in 2017, brought under the purview of the 2005 RTI Act.

Meanwhile, S K Mishra, Director of the Enforcement Directorate also reacted to the disclosures in the FinECN Files. “We have taken note of the global media investigation and the India end of it,” he told The Indian Express. “We are already probing some of the cases mentioned in the reports and some fresh leads may be forthcoming via the banking transactions described.”

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