SC stays HC order on black money law

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Delhi high court order which held that the 2016 black money law could not be allowed to operate retrospectively from July 2015 to book and probe offenders.

A vacation bench headed by justice Arun Mishra also stayed the high court’s May 16 order restraining the Income-Tax department from taking any action against AgustaWestland chopper scam accused Gautam Khaitan, against whom a black money case has been lodged.

“The impugned order (of the high court) is stayed,” the bench said, agreeing to hear the Centre’s appeal against the high court order.

The bench issued notice to Khaitan and asked him to file his response to the government’s petition within six weeks.

The Delhi high court, in its interim order, had stayed the Centre’s notification to make operational the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, with effect from July 1, 2015.

Khaitan, who is an accused in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper scam, is currently out on bail. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate pursuant to an investigation under the Act, on January 26.

As per the prosecution, Khaitan had deposited nearly ₹6,000 crore in offshore accounts.

A charge sheet has also been filed against Khaitan, for violation of provisions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

In its order that gave relief to Khaitan, the HC had said the black money act that came into force on April 1, 2016, could not be applied retrospectively. The Centre and Income Tax department were refrained from taking any action against Khaitan.

Khaitan had claimed that the Centre’s notification declaring the date of enforcement of the Act as of July 1, 2015, was ultra vires of the Act and hence null and void.

First Published:
May 22, 2019 04:34 IST

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