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Updated: November 2, 2011 04:00 IST

Names disclosure after prosecution begins: Pranab

Special Correspondent
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It is believed that around Rs. 3,000 crores are stashed abroad in the secret accounts of various foreign banks.
It is believed that around Rs. 3,000 crores are stashed abroad in the secret accounts of various foreign banks.

IT department sending notices after scrutiny of data on Swiss bank accounts

With the growing clamour for revealing the names of persons involved in stashing away black money in tax havens, even as the Income Tax Department has started sending notices to them based on information received from abroad, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee reiterated here on Tuesday that such disclosures could be made only prosecution proceedings are initiated.

In reply to a query whether the IT authorities had obtained information on some industrialists and MPs amassing black money abroad, Mr. Mukherjee did not offer a direct answer. “As and when the information [is received], investigation starts, prosecution takes place [and the] matter comes to court, then, as per the existing treaty terms, we can reveal the names in cases of prosecution by the Income Tax Department.”

While the Minister parried a direct answer even as the newly-created Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is sending out notices to individuals and entities after scrutiny of classified data on Swiss bank accounts, the Central Board of Direct Taxes denied reports that three MPs from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were summoned to Delhi to explain the source of funds parked in their bank accounts in Geneva.

“A section of the press reported today [Tuesday] that some investigations relating to banking information received from overseas have been referred to the DCI by the CBDT for prosecution, etc. It has also been reported that summonses have been issued to some Members of Parliament. This information is factually incorrect and is therefore denied,” the CBDT said in a statement.

Last month, at the Economic Editors' Conference, the Minister revealed the receipt of information from France on the overseas bank accounts held by Indians. “In 69 cases, the taxpayers have admitted to unaccounted income of Rs. 397.17 crore. Taxes of Rs 30.07 crore have also been paid,” Mr. Mukherjee said in his inaugural address, while noting that the Finance Ministry had so far received over 9,900 pieces of information from several countries on suspicious transactions by Indians, which are currently under investigation.

In the UPA government's drive against black money, the DCI is set to initiate legal proceedings within the next few months in a number of cases.

If the list of persons involved in stashing away black money in tax havens is received from abroad, the people of this country will know that these persons are being investigated only if investigations are done under public glare as in the case of Raja and Kalamadi? If the names of the suspects are not made public, how will the people track what is going on? Wouldn't lack of transparency make public believe, maybe wrongly,that names of some big guns from the government or the ruling party are in the list? Blind faith in the government on such matters is unfortunately absent these days, Mr.Mukherjee.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 2, 2011 at 17:32 IST

I never knew and I prefer never to know that HSBC is a Swiss bank. The information that you are discussing in the report has come from the HSBC. That bank has been under pressure from the United States authorities to reveal the undisclosed accounts mainly from Indians living in that country that were not disclosed to the IRS. The pressure from the United States is not Switzerland specific but includes accounts like those held in that bank in India and elsewhere. The government of India's way of dealing with these disclosed accounts typically permits pick and choose and is discriminatory.

from:  Hilary Pais
Posted on: Nov 2, 2011 at 11:30 IST
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