Rejecting the charge that NDA has done a U-turn on disclosure of names of black money holders, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the government will not be pushed into an act of adventurism and jeopardise the chances of getting cooperation of other countries in future.
The NDA government’s approach on black money, the Minister asserted, “is doggedly persistent – not adventurist.”
The Government, Jaitley said in his Facebook post, “stands committed to detect the names, prosecuting the guilty and making them public. We are not going to be pushed into an act of adventurism where we violate the treaties and then plead that we are no longer able to get the cooperation of reciprocating states.
The Minister was apparently responding to the criticism over the government’s refusal to disclose names of people having illicit accounts in foreign banks to the Supreme Court.
In an application with annexures running into about 800 pages, the Centre contended in the apex court that it cannot disclose all information as the foreign countries with which India has double taxation avoidance agreement, have objected to making them public.
Critical of NDA government’s approach on the black money, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on friday : “This is not only a hiatus between the words and deeds of BJP, but sheer hypocrisy and dishonesty with the public of India…One wonders whether his (Narendra Modi’s) black money rhetoric was meant for pre-election audience.”
In the run-up to Parliamentary polls, BJP had promised to bring back black money kept by Indians in overseas banks while targeting the UPA government for not taking effective action on the issue.
Refuting the criticism that NDA Government has done a U-turn on the issue of black money stacked up in Swiss bank accounts, Jaitley said, “nothing can be farther from the truth.”
The NDA government, he added, “will not withhold any information, including names of account holders who have stashed black money abroad, from the public, but the names will be revealed after following the due process of completing investigations and reaching conclusions about quantum of unaccounted money.”
After completion of the due legal process, he said, all the information including the names of black money account holders would become public in court proceedings arising from complaints to be filed by the Income Tax Department against tax offenders.
Any premature and out of court disclosure of the names of account holders would not only vitiate the investigations but would also enable such account holders to get away with their offences, Jaitley said.
“It will also violate India’s Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) with other countries and will choke receipt of all further information from those countries,” the Minister said.
Stating the UPA government did not appoint Special Investigation Team (SIT) for three years despite a Supreme Court order, Jaitley said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first cabinet meeting decided to appoint the SIT which has been functioning effectively.