Nation
Black Money: Probe finds large-scale account inheritance

The probe has found that many such accounts have been 'inherited' by their current owners from their parents, other family members or now-defunct trusts and companies that were set up years ago

 

Accounts inherited from family members as also from previously-constituted trusts or companies have come to the fore in a big way, as India seeks further details from Switzerland about those suspected to have 'unaccounted' wealth parked in the Swiss banks.

 

Hundreds of individuals and entities, including 627 names mentioned in a list submitted by the government to the Supreme Court, are facing probe for allegedly having black money in foreign banks including in a Swiss branch of HSBC bank.

 

While Switzerland has agreed to provide 'prompt' assistance to India and reply to information requests in a time-bound manner, the Indian authorities are conducting their own probes before approaching the Swiss government.

 

The due diligence of names accessed by Indian government through various sources, including the so-called HSBC list shared by the French government, has found that many such accounts have been 'inherited' by their current owners from their parents, other family members or now-defunct trusts and companies that were set up years ago.

 

While the exact number of such accounts could not be ascertained, sources said that there are 'quite a few' such accounts on which India is seeking further details from the Swiss authorities.

 

Switzerland, long accused of being a safe haven for illicit funds, last month promised to extend all necessary assistance to India and reply to requests for information in a 'time-bound' manner, or at least provide a reason for denial.

 

Explaining the treaty provisions about disclosure of such 'secret' information, a Swiss Finance Ministry spokesperson had said that authorities from the two countries are having 'regular contacts on bilateral tax matters', but refused to comment on particular cases citing 'confidentiality' clause of the Swiss-India tax treaty.

 

The government last week gave to the Supreme Court a list of 627 Indians with accounts in a Swiss branch of HSBC bank, on which probe for suspected black money is underway.

 

While this list was given in 'sealed envelopes', three other names were made public a day earlier as prosecution had been launched against those persons.

 

There has been a debate on whether disclosure of names, without prosecution, could violate tax treaties under which these names and other details are shared by foreign countries.

 

The exchange of information on tax matters between India and Switzerland is based on the double taxation agreement (DTA) and the protocol that was signed in 2010 between the two countries. It has been in force since October 2011.

 

This agreement is in line with international standards and provides for exchange of information on request.

 

The list of 627 persons with accounts in a Swiss branch of HSBC bank was received by India from the French government, while it had earlier got another list of Indians with suspected black money accounts from Germany.

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COMMENTS

Chandragupta Acharya

3 years ago

Here, a distinction needs to be made between money where tax has not been paid but which is otherwise legitimate, and money which in itself is illegitimate (i.e. proceeds of crime) such as bribe money. I believe in the latter case, such accounts would not be covered under DTAA and the entire money is liable for confiscation. Most of the discussion on this issue seems to presume that tax is the only liability on these sums, which is not the case.

Chandragupta Acharya

3 years ago

Here, a distinction needs to be made between money where tax has not been paid but which is otherwise legitimate, and money which in itself is illegitimate (i.e. proceeds of crime) such as bribe money. I believe in the latter case, such accounts would not be covered under DTAA and the entire money is liable for confiscation. Most of the discussion on this issue seems to presume that tax is the only liability on these sums, which is not the case.

National Herald Case: HC extends stay on summons against Sonia, Rahul

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds by the Congress leaders in the acquisition of National Herald by Young Indian

 

The Delhi High Court on Monday extended till 2nd December, the stay on the trial court order summoning Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and three others in the National Herald case.

 

Justice VP Vaish extended the interim order after lawyers appearing for the Gandhis and others said their arguments cannot be concluded today.

 

The High Court, while listing the matter for further hearing on 2nd December, said the pleas before it require a regular hearing over two-three days and it can't hear arguments in the next few days due to holidays and a lot of transfer cases listed before it.

 

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that arguments need to be concluded before the next date of hearing in the matter before the trial court, which is scheduled to hear it on 9th December.

 

Swamy, in his complaint before the trial court, had alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds by the Congress leaders in the acquisition of the daily by Young Indian (YI).

 

Besides Sonia and Rahul, Congress Treasurer Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey had moved the High Court on 30th July against the trial court order summoning them in the case.

 

The trial court had on 26th June summoned Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on 7th August.

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GK Vasan quits Congress, to float new party

The decision by Vasan brings to end to his 14-year-long association with Congress following the merger of Tamil Manila Congress floated by his father GK Moopanar

 

Dealing a blow to the struggling Congress, its senior leader and former union minister GK Vasan quit the party and announced his decision to float a new outfit in Tamil Nadu.

 

Blaming those who were entrusted with the affairs of Congress in Tamil Nadu for failing in their duty to strengthen the party, Vasan announced that he and his supporters have decided to resign from Congress.

 

“We are starting a new party. The name of the new party and its symbol would be announced soon at a rally to be held in Tiruchi shortly," he said.

 

Vasan said the approach of AICC in Tamil Nadu was not satisfactory in achieving its goal which prompted him to resign from the party.

 

“To achieve the goal in Tamil Nadu, there should be a different direction, a different approach from AICC, which we are not satisfied with. We are having a new path.... we feel it will be a victory path”, he said in stout defence of his new move.

 

The decision by Vasan to disassociate from Congress, brings to end to his 14-year-long association with the grand old party following the merger of Tamil Manila Congress floated by his father GK Moopanar.

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