Refuting charges that the Modi Government has made a U-turn on its Lok Sabha elections campaign promise to disclose names of black money holders, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that the names will be revealed after following the due process of completing investigations and reaching conclusions about quantum of unaccounted money. The names of account holders will become public when quoted in court proceedings arising from complaints to be filed by the Income Tax Department against tax offenders, Mr. Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.
He further wrote that the Government will not be pushed into an ‘act of adventurism’ that could jeopardise the chances of receiving cooperation from the reciprocating countries in future. Any premature and out-of-court disclosure of the names of account holders would vitiate the investigations and enable such account holders to get away with their offences, Mr. Jaitley posted.
The NDA government’s approach on black money, he said further in the post, “is doggedly persistent -- not adventurist.” It stands committed to detect the names, prosecuting the guilty and making them public, he assured.
On Friday, the Centre submitted to the Supreme Court its inability to disclose the names of Indians that have illicit accounts in foreign banks. It cited the provisions the double taxation avoidance agreement India has with those foreign countries where these accounts are held as the restricting factor preventing it. The Government is facing criticism over this stand that is consistent with the one the UPA Government had taken on the matter when it was in office which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made an issue in his Lok Sabha elections campaign targeting the Manmohan Singh-led government for what he called its ineffectiveness on the issue of black money.
Mr. Jaitley, however, clarified that, “Nobody has ever suggested that the names should not be made public. They should be made public in accordance with the existing due process of law. If that process is violated, you will never get to know the names in future.”