CPI(M) wants all undisclosed assets abroad to be confiscated

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded that the government make “a serious effort” to quantify the illicit funds stashed away abroad by Indians and identify the culprits.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau has said undisclosed assets of Indians located abroad should be confiscated by the government as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act.

‘No political will’

Reacting to the Finance Ministry's white paper on black money presented in Parliament on Monday, the party said the documents reflected a “trite exercise devoid of any political will.”

“Neither has any credible estimate of black money stashed [away] abroad been provided by the white paper nor have any concrete measures been suggested to retrieve the illicit funds,” it said.

The white paper states that the total amount of Indian deposits in Swiss banks fell from Rs. 23,373 crore in 2006 to Rs. 9,295 crore in 2010. The government seems to have no clue as to where this amount has gone. There is no assessment of Indian deposits in other offshore financial centres. The paper suggests that much of illicit financial outflows are round-tripped into India through Foreign Direct Investment via the Mauritius route or via FII investments through Participatory Notes. Yet, there is no specific recommendation to ban Participatory Notes or to scrap the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Mauritius, the statement said.

Talking to reporters here, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury assailed the United Progressive Alliance-II government for “failing on all fronts,” saying it has not fulfilled any promise to bring succour to the people reeling under price rise, unemployment and corruption.

“In the three years of UPA-II rule, not a single step has been taken on any front to alleviate the burden of the people. The government is in a state of drift,” he said.

It said the amount of undisclosed income of Indians who figure in the lists of secret-bank-accountholders received from the German and French governments respectively, were Rs. 40 crore and Rs. 565 crore only.

“These are minor parties. The Indian individuals and entities who are holding a bulk of the illicit wealth in offshore accounts are yet to be identified. The white paper, disappointingly, [simply] reiterates the myriad technical difficulties involved in retrieving these huge amounts stashed abroad.”

Doubts sincerity

The CPI(M) said “lack of progress” in getting information or taking action “raises doubts over the sincerity of the UPA government on this crucial issue” and demanded “serious effort” to quantify the illicit funds and identify the culprits.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India has said it finds the white paper a futile exercise without any clear-cut directions for action to unearth the black money.

“It smacks of hidden attempts to protect the offenders and does not come out with figures quantifying the extent of black money. It seems to be an exercise done in a hurry to save the falling face of UPA-II and divert the attention of the public from the notoriety that it has earned through numerous scams worth unheard[of] sums of money,” the CPI said in a statement.

The statement pointed out that rather than coming out with concrete steps to unearth the illegally-begotten money, the white paper gives further time to the offenders by announcing to set up a Lokpal to deal with the same.

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