“Information being obtained from German Tax Office”

Sivaganga (T.N.): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday described BJP leader L.K. Advani’s 100-day plan to bring back illegal money stashed away in foreign tax havens as a “smokescreen.”

In a hard-hitting reaction to the BJP prime ministerial candidate’s statement issued in Mumbai on Friday, he told PTI: “I am afraid Mr. Advani is doing more harm than good by repeatedly raising this issue, especially when he has been informed of the efforts being made by the government.”

As explained in his letter to Mr. Advani on May 16 last year, the government was already working with the German Central Tax Office to procure the information relating to deposits in LGT Bank in Liechtenstein.

Mr. Chidambaram said the government had made “significant” progress in acquiring information.

“I am not at liberty to disclose the progress made because there are still some procedural formalities required by the German Tax Office,” he said. At the appropriate time, he was sure, the Indian government would be able to release the information obtained.

“I wonder whether he [Advani] is unwittingly alerting those who have deposits abroad to re-arrange their affairs in the next four weeks before a new government is sworn in.”

Mr. Chidambaram said Mr. Advani continued to “mystify” the issues of capital flying out of the country.

He said no one denied that some people had illegally taken money out of the country and kept it in banks and other places protected by strong secrecy laws. — PTI

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