‘No SIT to probe Panama papers leak’,says the SC on ML Sharma’s PIL

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday ruled out the option to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the offshore accounts of Indians revealed in the Panama Papers leak, saying the multi-agency group set up by the government was already looking into the matter.

Supreme Court

A bench comprising Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit observed that there was no need for a separate SIT since the Centre’s multi-agency group (MAG), consisting officers of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), was like an SIT itself.

The observations were made on a plea filed by advocate ML Sharma, who sought a court-monitored probe in the Panama Papers leak case. Sharma had also sought a detailed investigation of the Indian offshore account holders and stock market regulators, industrialists and celebrities whose names had been exposed in Panama papers leak.

However, Additional Solicitor General PS Narsimha, who is representing the Centre, informed the court that investigating the names leaked in the case was “not ordinary” and “very complicated” since multiple agencies were probing and trying to ascertain the details.

While opposing a separate probe, the Centre said probing these cases was unlike normal crime incidents since various aspects, like treaties with foreign countries, needed to be taken into account.

With agencies