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Updated: January 20, 2011 09:01 IST

It's plunder of the nation, says court

J. Venkatesan
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The Supreme Court today expressed displeasure over the government’s reluctance in coming forward with full information on the black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks, saying it as a theft of national wealth and amounted to “plunder” of the nation. File photo
AP The Supreme Court today expressed displeasure over the government’s reluctance in coming forward with full information on the black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks, saying it as a theft of national wealth and amounted to “plunder” of the nation. File photo

Describing black money stashed away abroad by Indians as “pure and simple theft of national money,” the Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the Centre's approach to tackling this menace and retrieving the huge amount kept in foreign banks.

When Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam furnished in a sealed cover a list of 26 names who had accounts with Liechtenstein Bank, a Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar was not convinced of the steps taken by the government for getting back black money.

Justice Reddy, after perusing the list, told the SG: “This is all the information you have or you have something more! We are talking about the huge money. It is a plunder of the nation. It is a pure and simple theft of the national money. We are talking about mind-boggling crime. We are not on niceties of various treaties.”

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, and others. Appearing for them, senior counsel Anil Divan earlier alleged inaction on the part of the Centre in bringing back black money parked in foreign banks.

Referring to Mr. Divan's submissions, quoting the former National Security Adviser, M.K. Narayanan, that the money stashed away in tax havens might have some terror links, Justice Reddy observed: “This is the problem which is worrying us. It is not only about tax evasion, it has something more.”

The SG said the government was taking all steps to retrieve black money but explained the difficulties in sharing the information. Sharing of information by the countries concerned depended on treaties, otherwise they were not bound to furnish details.

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Shame on us as a nation showing lethargy in bringing the cash back. Days of Congress government will be numbered by the voters if it doesn't show interest in the welfare of the nation. People are more educated and informed now - they can't play games with the voters by protecting the Black Money hoarders. People will teach a lesson in the next election.

from:  Jaiveer
Posted on: Jan 22, 2011 at 12:00 IST

It seems that this is the second time only, after pointing out his accusing finger towards the son-in-law and other relatives of Ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Balakrishnan, of amassing-up illegal wealth, that Ram Jethmalani endeavoured upon to file a petition along with others in the same Supreme court to bring back the stashed-away tax-evaded money that were lying with the foreign banks. Bravo ! I say this 'cause since time immemorial this law man has been standing-up in the courts of law to defend and protect not the interests and welfare of the downtrodden or rightful masses but the most corrupt politicians and individuals. Shame ! What is the use of education without learning and practising the core value; Ethics in one's own work as a bread-winner. At the end of the day you gained only money but lost its intrinsic value by sacrificing the morals.

from:  Haja Abu Bucker
Posted on: Jan 21, 2011 at 00:48 IST

It is most brazen act on part of government - instead of treating it as a money laundering issue, they are assuming it is tax evasion and doing the best to protect the people with black money. It makes you wonder who the Congress govt is interested in shielding by destroying all institutions and brazenly lying in court, to public etc.

from:  Bharat
Posted on: Jan 20, 2011 at 21:43 IST

It is most unfortunate that the government is not cooperating with the highest court of the country. The honourable court is totally correct to say that the money stashed in Swiss Bank accounts is a national loot besides a blot on the nation and therefore it needs to be dealt with differently. But the attitude of the government seems to protect these thieves in the garb of secrecy and global agreement. Can any agreement with any other country be beyond the purview of the highest court of our country? The government's attitude gives an impression as if it wants to communicate to the Supreme Court that the political will is supreme.

from:  S L Gera
Posted on: Jan 20, 2011 at 15:48 IST

Wikileaks will do for Indians what the successive Indian governments cannot (and will not) do for Indians.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Jan 20, 2011 at 09:35 IST

Transparency has never been in place in the governance of the country. How can one expect it in the most sensitive area of tax-evasion and in foreign bank accounts, when those involved are the high and the mighty, plundering the wealth of the nation?

from:  G.Naryanaswamy
Posted on: Jan 20, 2011 at 09:01 IST

Seeing is believing, in these cases!! The money belongs to the elites of the country and as a rule they keep the politicians in office. Any administration going after them would find it hard going. In the usual manner, there would a a lot of noise and heat against these people for a while and then,all is forgotten!! The saga continues!

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Jan 20, 2011 at 06:49 IST
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