The Centre on Friday submitted before the Supreme Court that all the information on black money received from foreign countries, with which India has double taxation avoidance agreement, cannot be disclosed.
In its application, the Centre said that the foreign countries have objected to disclosing such information and if such details are revealed then no other country would sign such an agreement with India.
Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the issue and pleaded for an urgent hearing.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on whose plea the apex court had constituted Special Investigating Team (SIT) on black money, strongly objected to the stand taken by the Centre and said that matter be not heard.
“Matter should not be entertained even for a day. Such application should have been made by the culprits and not by the government,” Jethmalani said, adding that Centre is trying to protect the people who have stashed black money in foreign banks.
Jethmalani said that he has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue and his response is awaited.
The apex court had constituted the SIT headed by its former judge M B Shah on a plea of Jethmalani, who had moved the court for the purpose of getting black money back to the country.
It had appointed its retired judges M B Shah as the Chairman and Arijit Pasayat as the Vice Chairman of the SIT for providing guidance and direction in the investigation of all cases of black money in the country and abroad.
With the Modi government facing the arduous task of fulfilling its promise of getting back black money stashed abroad, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Friday said all amounts deposited in foreign banks by Indian citizens can’t be termed as black money and that it is not a crime to open such accounts.
He said that all the information on black money received from foreign countries, with which India has double taxation avoidance agreement, cannot be disclosed.
Rohatgi told after the Supreme Court hearing on the black money issue that details of only those accounts can be made public in which government decides to start prosecution.
He said that government filed an application in the apex court requesting modifications of the earlier order in which the Centre was directed to disclose all the accounts in relation to tax haven Liechtenstein.
Taking a swipe at the Modi government, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said it has no intention to get to the bottom of the black money case.
“Our government had recognised the issue of black money. There is no international law other than UN convention against corruption of which we are signatory in 2011.
“This government has no intention to get to the bottom of the black money case. During his campaign, Modi had promised to get back the black money in 100 days but they have not taken any initiative,” he said.