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Updated: November 11, 2012 02:14 IST

Probe under way into French information, says FinMin

Special Correspondent
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IAC members allege industrialists, a Congress MP, and others have crores of rupees sitting in Swiss banks.
IAC members allege industrialists, a Congress MP, and others have crores of rupees sitting in Swiss banks.

“But it is covered by confidentiality clause and can be used only for tax purposes”

A day after India Against Corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal charged the government with inaction over black money allegedly stashed away in HSBC in Switzerland, the Finance Ministry sought to set the record straight, saying “appropriate” action was taken and further investigations were in progress to obtain more information about the account-holders. Without naming any bank or account-holder, the Ministry said on Saturday: “Information received from the Government of France has been analysed, and investigations into the information have been undertaken by the different jurisdictional authorities under the Income Tax Act, 1961.”

The statement, issued on behalf of the Department of Revenue, pointed out that investigations were in progress, including by the foreign tax authorities, to obtain more information. “Appropriate action has been taken in these cases and further action, including assessment, tax collection and levy of penalty, will be taken as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and based on the facts of each case.”

At a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Kejriwal, along with lawyer Prashant Bhushan, had alleged that the government did not act on the information provided by the French government with regard to 700 account-holders in HSBC, Geneva.

The IAC activists also named a few top industrialists, among others, claiming that they had parked huge sums with the Swiss bank, a charge they denied.

Seemingly alluding to Mr. Kejriwal’s allegations, the Ministry’s statement merely said that in June 2011, the government received from France information relating to certain bank accounts reportedly held by some individuals/non-individuals in a foreign bank. “Reference to this matter was made by the then Finance Minister during the debate on an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on 14.12. 2011. Subsequently, answers to questions were furnished in the Rajya Sabha on 23.08.2012.”

Furthermore, explaining why information on taxation matters pertaining to black money could not be placed in the public domain, the statement said: “It would be pertinent to point out that the information received from the Government of France is covered by the confidentiality clause under the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention between India and France and can be used only for the tax purposes specified therein.”

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Probe is under way???? Thank you Mr Chidambaram!! I wish Congress never
comes to rule this country atleast for the next 20-25 years. Please let
us live and leave some money for us. Disgusting!! No one whom I know
will ever vote for you guys in the future. I feel so sad from inside.

Thank you Kejriwal and Team.

from:  Suresh Nair
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 11:31 IST

French authorities provided information on indians holding accounts in HSBC. What is holding indian authorities from directly contacting HSBC bank and getting information? How long it takes to get such information, especially, from HSBC bank in India? Normally treaties are based on income of individuals/corporations in the countries involved. IAC is talking about black money stashed in HSBC bank. Hawala is a parallel banking operation larger than SBI and existing departments may not have the man power or brain power to get to the bottom of it.

from:  vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 09:48 IST

What stops the government from compelling the persons/entities on the list to
furnish written responses to specific questionnaires to be filed on public sites?
The main problem appears to be the secrecy ensured by government.

from:  A.V.Adi Shankar
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 07:27 IST

Haven't we heard all this before..?..Investigation going on, probe going on, looking into it..and so on and on for 25 years..( Bofors ? ), then forgotten. People are no longer interested in such talk. They want to see prosecution of the guilty..jail terms for the looters and punishment for all the crooks who loot this nation.

from:  Jairam
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 03:33 IST

This statement of the government is indeed a joke! If anything, I will bet, the government
would have gone after a handful of individual cases and harassed them, completely ignoring
the need to look into systemic issues after or while investigating every individual and
institutional entities involved in these murky and anti national activities.

from:  Suresh Kumar Bopparaju
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 03:17 IST

This is the standard reply by the Corrupt Congress Govt. to all allegations of corruption. Manmohan said this before the last General election. He promised to get all the Black money (henceforth to be called Congress money) within 100 days after the election. IAC should keep pressing the issue. The delay is also buying time for Sonia and the gang to move the money out of Swiss banks or to bring it back into India through FDI and other scams. Time to get all the Congress money back to where it belongs and have a real fast track court setup to throw these crooks into the slammer for ever.

from:  annapp
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 01:40 IST

with such bulk of evidences as provided by mr kejriwal about black
money holders in swiss banks,even now if government doesnt act with
sincerity and integrity, its matter of grave concern we can say
oftenly comes with statements like we are investigating the matter, we
are working in that way n etc.. god knows in what direction
governtment is heading..with civil society becoming powerful day by
day and also carrying voices of greater public concerned, it is the
duty of people in power to answer to the querries of public and act
accordingly in the goodwill of public as well as whole country..|if
government strives and makes an attempt to bring back atleast a part
of black money stashed away and invests in sectors like health and
education, we can put china behind also we can meet our MDG GOALS
within stipulated period ie. 2015. we can do that.this everything .but
whatever we think,it just remains as utopia when we see our
governments response to the matter.

from:  prashanth k naik
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 00:33 IST

They must bring back black money stashed abroad immediately. Well done
IAC. AK, please keep a regular check on them as few have amassed tons of
wealth while already distressed 'aam aadmi' is going from bad to worse.

from:  gkk
Posted on: Nov 11, 2012 at 00:14 IST

"Yes, the action has been taken and we'll come up with results after a decade when
most of these would be either dead or away."

from:  Siddharth Pandit
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 23:39 IST

"who will tie the bell on the cat's neck ?"

from:  Biju
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 21:58 IST

Indeed! We all know "appropriate" action has been taken (to cover up the names). We also know the "investigations" will go on (hogwash basically, to kill time, to ensure that people forget after some time) forever, without any outcome! What else can you expect from an "honest" Prime Minister??

from:  Mittal
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 21:48 IST

For long Ms Aruna Roy, one of the most vociferous "Intellectual" is absolutely silent on the issue of Black Money! And that Abhishek, the shameless, has become very bold and has started giving TV interviews.

from:  Virendra
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 21:17 IST

If Govt. had received the Information last year, then why they did not disclose the names of those people. It is an attempt to delay the matter so that people will forget later. At least let a common man know what's happening in India. If we can get back all the black money, then our India becomes golden India. No farmer's suicides, no corruption, no hunger..

from:  K L N Deepak
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 21:12 IST

When the people who are giving these statements are the people who stashed the
money in swiss accounts, we all know how long it will take to investigate and how
one day 10 years later the court throws out the case for lack of evidence.

from:  Varun
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 21:08 IST

When ever a Tax evasion complaint is sent to the Tax dept it should be acknowledged. The tax dept is a peculiar one , they never respond RTI application on Tax evasion.

Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 20:53 IST

Yes, appropriate action may have been taken. Since the appropriateness of action taken by
the government would have been decided by the government itself and not a jududicial
authority, everybody knows what the action will be. The government should realise that
people can no longer be fooled.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 20:18 IST

The statement "Black money probe is in progress' and appropriate action is being
taken is the usual stereotyped reply given by the Government which will go on
endlessly till eternity and is going to satisfy none. The public are more interested in
knowing the names of those persons involved in the crime which the Government
deliberately avoids in order to shield some of its own henchmen. The NAC deserves
our thanks for taking the lead on the issue.,

Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 20:01 IST

I wish to share my thought on this matter. Only when some one brings up an issue like this,the government or their representatives start providing back dated statements. Some times SC comes to rescue. Wish the fight against graft get intensified and fought to at least minimize its ill consequences / effects. Many thanks to AK and AH

from:  V.Sivasubramaniam
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 18:37 IST
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