BJP leader L K Advani on Saturday asked the government to disclose the names of three MPs who figure in the list of 700 Indians who have stashed funds in Swiss bank accounts, terming it as a serious matter which brings the issue of black money close to the political system.
“Three MPs have been named -- one each from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana -- in the list of those having Swiss bank accounts. This is a very serious issue. If this is true, then obviously the issue of blackmoney comes close to the political system. It cannot be dealt with only as a tax evasion case,” Mr. Advani told reporters in Mumbai.
Demanding that full facts in this connection be made public, he said, “I, as an MP, have the right to know who they are and what action has been taken against them. It is not merely a case of tax evasion, it is a crime. Particularly if the amount is a large one, it may well be a case of money earned out of criminality.”
Asking whether the Centre is really interested in exposing those who have funds stashed abroad, Mr. Advani said he has been demanding that the government must come out with a white paper spelling out steps taken to bring back the country’s black money.
Countries like USA, Germany, France and even smaller nations like Philippines, Peru and Nigeria have taken a variety of measures to bring back black money parked in foreign bank accounts with great success.
“Why is the UPA government not ready to do the same,” he asked.
Announcing that Parliament’s winter session is bound to focus on black money, he said, “It would be appropriate if the government presents a status paper on black money during the upcoming session.” he said.
The Income Tax departnment is probing a list of 700 Indians having accounts with a multi-national bank in Geneva after the government received information in this regard reportedly from the French government.
Reminding the Prime Minister of his announcement that steps would be initiated against black money within 100 days of UPA’s second term in office, Mr. Advani said, “A few months ago the Swiss Ambassador to India said if the Indian government shows the political will the Swiss government was willing to cooperate.”
Countries like the U.S., Germany, France and U.K. have entered into agreements and treaties with Switzerland which helped them extract information. The U.S. got information of 4,000 account holders from the UBS Bank. Other countries have also managed to get substantial information, he said.
“The nature of the agreement which India has entered into is so worded that the government takes shelter under it to refuse to extract information. This is also prospective, giving scope to defaulters to withdraw their money,” Mr. Advani said.
Asked about corruption cases against former Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, Mr. Advani said, “I have spoken in detail on this issue. I do not want to repeat the same things again and again.”