Rs 15 lakh claim was based on estimates: Govt

RSTV Bureau

File Photo(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention during polls that each citizen could get Rs 15 lakh if all black money was unearthed was based on “illustrative” figures cited in various estimates, government said on Tuesday, responding to questions that have been raised over the issue.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while replying to questions in Rajya Sabha on black money stashed abroad, said authorities has so far detected “an income which is evaded to the extent of Rs 3250 crore for which there is a tax impact” and proceedings have been initiated against the defaulters.

“Let me assure the members that nobody which is part of the HSBC list against whom evidence is forthcoming is going to be spared,” he said.

On questions about the basis for Modi’s contention that each citizen could get Rs 15 lakh if entire black money stashed abroad was unearthed, Jaitley said, “…it is an illustrative statement which indicates that if any of those versions (of black money stashed abroad) are accepted, then pro-rata that is the benefit which accrues to citizen of India.

“It is a statement which has been made by several people in that context and it must be taken entirely in that context.”

PM Narendra Modi had made such a statement during electioneering for last year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Jaitley said all efforts are being made to bring to book those who have been named in the HSBC bank list of black money holders and there are evidence against them.

There were as many as 628 names in the HSBC list.

A large number of those in the HSBC list have been identified, he said, adding that assessment would be completed by March 31.

We have in this process found that the total income which is evaded is to the extent of Rs 3250 crore for which there is a tax impact. That assessment has been completed. In more than 200 of those cases, assessment have been completed, demands have been placed on them. In some cases recovery have been made.

“Additionally, in about 77 of those cases, criminal prosecution have already been finalisied. The details of each one of them are with us,” Jaitley said.

Referring to the SIT on black money, Jaitley said it has been making monthly recommendations to the Supreme Court.

He added that the SIT has made a recommendation to the government with regard to tightening of our laws, both with regard to generation of black money and keeping black money outside the country.

“Both these recommendations have come and in the budget this year. I have already outlined some of the measures which we are taking in this regard,” he said.

The government, he said, has proposed to introduce in this session of Parliament a separate law with regard to black money generation, particularly with regard to monies being kept outside the country.

Now there is a proposal to make certain deterrent punishment with regard to those people who are involved in that process.

“The amount of penalties is intended to be increased and we will make keeping foreign assets without permission illegal as a predicate offence for the purpose of money laundering and those stiff measures that we have announced in the budget are based substantially on the recommendations of the SIT,” he added.

Jaitley said appropriate action against evasion of taxes, including by way of holding unreported bank account in Swiss banks, is an ongoing process.

Such action under direct tax laws includes searches, surveys and queries, assessment of income, levy of taxes and penalty and filing of prosecution.

The Finance Minister also said there was no proposal to ban Indians from opening overseas accounts.