Rajya Sabha adjourned after Trinamool ruckus over Swiss bank deposits

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday denied knowledge of any recovery of unaccounted deposits made by Indians in Swiss banks.

Mr. Goyal’s response was to a specific question by Trinamool Congress MP Sukhedu Sekhar Roy in the Rajya Sabha: “How much unaccounted deposits of Indians have so far been recovered from Switzerland, in how many cases prosecution proceeding has been initiated and when the citizens of India will get ₹15 lakh in their accounts?”

Responding to Mr. Roy’s question, the Finance Minister said, “I think the honourable member may have some information which the government does not have. If he is privy to any information about black money, I think he should put it before the government so that the government can take action.”

Following the Minister’s response, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for about 90 minutes after members of the Trinamool Congress stormed the well demanding that black money stashed by Indians in Swiss banks be brought back.

The ruckus, during which Congress MPs were also on their feet and protesting vociferously, led Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the House till 2 p.m.

In reply to the question on black money by Ram Kumar Kashyap of the INLD, Mr. Goyal said the money deposited by Indians in Swiss banks had gone down by 80% between 2013 and the end of 2017. He did not specify the amount though.

He said the data collected by the Swiss National Bank in collaboration with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) show that loans and deposits of Indians, in the Swiss banks declined by 34.5% in 2017 as compared to 2016.

“Further, there has been a significant reduction in the Swiss non-bank loans and deposits of Indians by 80.2% between 2013 and 2017,” Mr. Goyal said.

He also said the Automatic Exchange of Information, based on Common Reporting Standard, has commenced from 2017 with many countries enabling India to receive financial account information of Indian residents. This will also be useful in bringing the unaccounted income and assets under the tax net, he said.

In a written reply, Mr. Goyal said the disclosure of information received under a tax treaty was governed by confidentiality provisions.

Further, the disclosure of information in case of individual assessees is protected as per the provisions of Section 138 of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

“As regards the exchange of information requests, the government has made 4,843 exchange of information requests to foreign jurisdictions in the last four financial years and proceedings are going on,” Mr. Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 1:52:46 AM |

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