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Can’t disclose info on black money: Centre

Can’t disclose info on black money: Centre
Highlights

The same position used to be taken by the UPA government whenever the issue of getting back the black money stashed abroad came up for discussion, and it was subjected to an intense political attack by the BJP and its supporters.

NDA Govt response shows sheer hypocrisy: Cong

  • Names of persons under probe for having black money will be only made public once charges are filed in the court
  • Swiss authorities will give details of bank A/Cs of persons who have been investigated by Income Tax authorities
  • Tax pact signed by Congress govt in 1995 with Germany is constraining Centre from declaring names of persons—Jaitley

New Delhi: Much to the disappointment of the petitioner and senior counsel Ram Jethamalani, the Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court in an application that all the “ information on black money received through foreign countries with which India has double taxation avoidance agreement cannot be disclosed.”

In an application seeking an urgent hearing on the matter, the Attorney General disclosed that foreign countries have objected to disclosing such information and if such details are revealed then no mother country would sign such an agreement with India.

The same position used to be taken by the UPA government whenever the issue of getting back the black money stashed abroad came up for discussion, and it was subjected to an intense political attack by the BJP and its supporters.
Today, the move from the Modi government resulted in a strong objection from the senior counsel Ram Jethamalani on whose petition the apex court had ordered the setting up of a Special Investigative Team ( SIT) and the government had complied by appointing former judge M B Shah as its head. “Matter should not be entertained even for a day, such application should have been made by the culprits and not by the government,” he argued.

The “return of black money” stashed abroad is a sensitive political theme that has deployed during the Lok Sabha election campaign by the then prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi with frequent barbs hinting that the government of the day was not going after the culprits as it lacked the political will since it was aware that most of them either belonged to the Congress party or had links with the higher-ups in the leadership.

The Congress on Friday seized the opportunity to highlight the hypocrisy of the Modi government.” When the UPA used to make this point of foreign treaties, they would level all kinds of accusations against us. Now at least they should have the courage to admit that they deliberately misled the people for political gains,” said senior lawyer and party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. He also questioned the “silence” of activists like Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare along with the Yoga guru Ramdev who activism on this issue was supported by Modi. “Now why don’t they undertake fast unto death? Why are they silent now?” he asked. Singhvi said that this is not just a case of dichotomy between deeds and words.” This is is case of a deliberate attempt to mislead the people for narrow political gains,” he added.

"Where is the question of propaganda? We have no problems in making the names public under the due process of law and the treaty commitment by a previous government, whether good or bad, is process of law," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. Jaitley said that a team of officials from his ministry traveled recently to meet with Swiss authorities and managed a major breakthrough. In 2011, an employee of HSBC in Switzerland leaked a long list of account-holders who have untaxed income resting with the bank.

Jaitley also said that Germany is upset with the leak of some names on a list it had shared on Indians with bank accounts . Jaitley said, according to an agreement struck with Germany by the Congress when it was in power in 1995, "names can only be made public after charges are filed in court."

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