Cong, BJP spar over spike in Indian money in Swiss banks

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: File photo of Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses the media at party office, in New Delhi, May 19, 2018. PTI

New Delhi: File photo of Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses the media at party office, in New Delhi, May 19, 2018.
PTI

As Congress president Rahul Gandhi criticised the ruling dispensation over the media reports of rise in Indian money in Swiss banks, Union minister Arun Jaitley hit quelling the apprehensions as “misplaced” to start with. Several national dailies carried a news report saying money parked by Indians in Swiss banks rose by over 50% to Rs 7,000 crore in 2017, reversing a three-year downward trend.

“2014, HE said: I will bring back all the “BLACK” money in Swiss Banks & put 15 Lakhs in each Indian bank A/C… 2016, HE said: Demonetisation will cure India of “BLACK” money… 2018, HE says: 50% jump in Swiss Bank deposits by Indians, is “WHITE” money. No “BLACK” in Swiss Banks!” Rahul Gandhi tweeted tagging a media report on the matter.

The Congress also targeted the prime minister over his government’s claims of putting a clampdown on back money and said Swiss bank deposits during the UPA had fallen and the same has risen by 50 per cent under the Modi government.

“Swiss Bank deposits fell during Dr. Manmohan Singh’s time, only to rise to record levels under PM Modi. The current increase of 50.2 pc post demonetisation, is the maximum since 2004,” the party said on its Twitter handle.

“What happened to Prime Minister Modi’s promise of eradicating corruption and bringing back black money?” asked Congress spokesperson RPN Singh.

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at Parliament House, January 29, 2018. PTI

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at Parliament House, January 29, 2018.
PTI

Meanwhile, writing in his Facebook blog on Friday, Union Minister Arun Jaitley dismissed the developments as detrimental to fight against corruption.

“A news item has appeared today indicating an increase of money by ‘Indians’ in the Swiss banking system. This has led to misinformed reaction in certain circles raising a query whether the Government’s anti-black money steps have yielded results,” he said.

Citing the Swiss treaty with India and real time flow of information with regard to Indians, he said the flow of information will start in January, 2019.

“Any illegal depositor knows that it is a matter of months before his name becomes public and he will be subjected to the harsh penal provisions of the Black money law in India,” Arun Jaitley said.

Alleging that misinformation is being spread over the issues, he summarised his piece saying, “To assume that all the deposits are per se tax evaded money or that Switzerland in the matter of illegal deposits is what it was decades ago, is to start on a shaky presumption”.

The Indian money in Swiss banks had fallen by 45 per cent in 2016, marking their biggest ever yearly plunge to about Rs 4,500 crore — the lowest ever since the European nation began making the data public in 1987.

According to the SNB data, the total funds held by Indians directly with Swiss banks rose to 999 million Swiss franc (Rs 6,891 crore) in 2017, while the same held through fiduciaries or wealth managers increased to CHF 16.2 million (Rs 112 crore).

These figures stood at CHF 664.8 million and CHF 11 million, respectively, at the end of 2016.

(With inputs from PTI)