The Supreme Court today said it will consider making public the status report filed by the Enforcement Directorate about its investigations into the issue of black money stashed in foreign banks only after examining it.  “We will go into the status reports and documents and then see whether it requires maintaining secrecy and confidentiality or not,” a Bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar said.

The ED has filed its status report about the probe in a sealed cover.

The apex court had on November 30 taken strong exception to the ED filing an “unsigned” status report about its investigations.

It had returned the unsigned status report which was placed before it in the sealed cover to the investigating agency making it clear that “it will not accept the report which has not been signed by any official”.

The Centre has claimed privilege over some documents and said it could not make them public as it would jeopardise the investigation carried out so far.

“I know that the matter is of public interest. We have done the investigation. I don’t want to bring it in the public domain. I don’t want the investigation to get jeopardised,” Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi had said.

During the brief hearing today, senior advocate Anil Divan, appearing for eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani and others, raised questions over the government proceeding in the matter by following the DTAA (Double Tax Avoidance Agreement) for its probe about the money deposited with the Liechtenstein Bank in Germany.

He said that for the Indians having accounts in the foreign bank, there was no requirement for following the DTAA as it is only required in case of the person of other countries.

Tripathy said the government was moving ahead on the information that names of 12 trustees of Liechtenstein Bank have come to be known.

Divan submitted the Centre should make public the staus report on the probe done by its agencies.

The petitioners have objected to the stand of the Department of Revenue which was not giving the documents relating to the showcause notice issued on December 29, 2008, to Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan against whom the ED had lodged a complaint for violating Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Divan had said it is the admitted position of the ED that no action has been taken for money laundering under FEMA against Khan who was in contact with Adnan Khasogi, an arms dealer from Saudi Arabia.

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September 2021