New steps soon against black money

Updated - September 02, 2016 01:58 pm IST

Published - February 11, 2015 03:57 am IST - NEW DELHI

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi. File photo

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi. File photo

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, who is the government’s face before the Supreme Court in the black money case, said the Budget session of Parliament in February will see new legal provisions for “treatment” of black money abroad.

Mr. Rohatgi is faced with the task of explaining to the Supreme Court the new Indian list of Swiss account holders in HSBC. The new list, published as part of a global media investigation, almost doubles the 628 black money account holders whose names are with the government.

On Monday, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) chairperson Justice M.B. Shah said the onus was on the government to act with promptitude and ferret out illegal accounts from the new names.

“We share everything with the SIT. There is total transparency. Even on the new list, many names are common with the earlier list of 628 HSBC account holders,” Mr. Rohatgi said.

“By March 31, 2015, we will complete the prosecution of illegal account holders in the first batch of 628 names. In this list, we have already recovered substantial amounts as penalty for tax evasion from over 300 Indians having Swiss bank accounts. There will be no delay,” he said.

The A-G said that prime focus was on ushering in legislative changes to prevent and account for illegal money flowing abroad. Justice Shah had on Monday said that it was the government's responsibility to fortify the laws against black money abroad.

“This Budget session we will bring in new legal provisions which will take care of treatment of black money abroad, especially on the liability for disclosure,” Mr. Rohatgi told The Hindu on Tuesday.

In a hearing before the Supreme Court in January 2015, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, the petitioner in whose case the SIT was constituted, had accused the government of delayed action. This, he said, was despite promises in the party’s election manifesto that “we will also proactively engage with foreign governments to facilitate information sharing on black money.”

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