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Updated: August 25, 2009 20:30 IST

Black money: Talks with Switzerland in December

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The Hindu
"We have no intention of having any roving enquiry, " says Pranab Mukherjee. File photo: Shanker Chakravarty

In the midst of a row over tainted money stashed in banks in Switzerland, the government on Tuesday said it will begin talks with that country in December for amending the relevant treaty and it was not interested in a “roving inquiry“.

“We are pursuing with the Swiss authorities and after our persuasion they have agreed to discuss and begin the negotiations on the amendment of the avoidance of double taxation agreement in respect of the exchange of information.

“That first round of talks will take place sometime in December,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at a panel discussion organised by ET—Now news channel.

The Swiss Banks Association had said Swiss law and even OECD’s Model Tax Convention do not permit fishing expeditions, in other words, the indiscriminate trawling through bank accounts in the hope of finding something interesting.

“This means that India cannot simply throw its telephone book at Switzerland and ask if any of these people have a bank account here,” SBA Head of International Communications James Nason had said.

“We are fully aware of and we have no intention of having any roving enquiry,” Mr. Mukherjee said, adding that it would pursue the matter on the basis of specific information to help the tax authorities nail the defaulters.

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