Citizens' Issues
Blackmoney: HSBC whistleblower seeks protection to reveal to India
HSBC bank whistleblower Herve Falciani on Monday said he was willing to cooperate with the Indian investigative agencies in probing black-money cases provided he was given protection.
 
"I have a lot of information about Indians stashing away money abroad but for that I need cooperation and support of the Indian investigation agencies towards the safety of whistleblowers," said Falciani while addressing mediapersons here through videoconferencing.
 
"If I come to India to help investigators, I will be arrested. I'm not able to share information because of lack of coordination," he added.
 
Asked if he was looking for money to share information with India, he said, "It is not about the money or becoming rich. I want to help India in tracking down the intermediaries."
 
Falciani is facing charges in Switzerland of leaking details of bank account holders in Geneva branch of HSBC. The French government, which later accessed the list, shared with India information relating to Indian clients of the bank.
 
He said that millions of crores are flowing out of India, Russia, Brazil, and Argentina every year.
 
"We are at economic war and information is the only tool through which we can hold our ground. For a country like India it is necessary to protect the whistleblowers or the insiders who give information," he said.
 
The central government had formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the directions of Supreme Court to probe black money cases. SIT is led by two former apex court judges -- Justices M.B. Shah and Arijit Pasayat.
 
Earlier in August, Falciani had written to the SIT pointing out how the Indian government did not appear serious about pursuing and tracking down this black-money.
 
In the letter addressed to SIT head retired Justice Shah, Falciani had pointed out SIT advisor KV Chowdhary had met him on December 15-16, 2014 in Paris where he (Falciani) had advised the Indian investigators to join in and continue the investigation with other countries rather than work with data alone to get limited results.
 
"There is an urgent need to focus on unraveling the role of financial intermediaries. If this is not done status quo will prevail as far as the black money problem in India is concerned," he had written in the letter to SIT.
 
Former Aam Aadmi Party leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were also present in the press conference.
 
Hitting out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led-central government for adopting a lax attitude in dealing with black-money Bhushan said the government was not serious in bringing black-money back.
 
SIT told the government that around Rs.2,71000 crores were invested in the stock market through participatory notes and the anonymity of these holders should not be allowed and their names should be known to the authorities.
 
"The government has not accepted this recommendation of SIT. Why the government is not implementing the SIT's recommendation for doing away with the anonymity of participatory notes?" he asked.
 
"It is not willing to provide protection to whistleblowers ready to co-operate and provide crucial data."
 
Bhushan asked from the government that what action it had taken regarding the foreign accounts of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's son, as revealed in International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) website.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Roadmap for corporate tax reduction coming soon: Official
"The road map for phasing out of exemptions will be unveiled soon," Adhia told reporters here
 
The government is likely to unveil a roadmap by next month for doing away with corporate tax exemptions along with a phased reduction of this tax rate to 25 percent over four years, Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said on Monday.
 
"The road map for phasing out of exemptions will be unveiled soon," Adhia told reporters here.
 
On whether the plan could be out by the end of this calendar year, the secretary said: "It should come out."
 
Presenting the current fiscal's budget in February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said the government would gradually reduce the corporate tax by five percent during the next four years from the current 30 percent and phase out various tax exemptions.
 
Asked whether the government is open to the idea of an out-of-court settlement in the Vodafone tax case, Adhia said: "They had invoked arbitration and we have responded to it. And if there is offer for out-of-court, the government will consider it."
 
In the case involving British telecom major Vodafone, the Bombay High Court had recently ruled that there was no case for the government to raise a Rs.3,200 crore ($500 million) additional tax demand, thereby setting aside an earlier verdict by a tribunal.
 
Following this, the government decided not to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.
 
The income tax department had asked the company to pay additional income tax, alleging it had undervalued its shares in its subsidiary Vodafone India Services while transferring them to the parent company.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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CID probe against GP Goenka over closed Bengal tea estates
The West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has initiated investigation against Duncan Group of Industries chairman G.P. Goenka and his son over non-payment of wages to workers of their tea estate in north Bengal, an officer said on Monday.
 
The moves come in the wake of nearly a dozen alleged malnutrition deaths at the company's Bagrakote Tea Estate in Jalpaiguri estate.
 
The family members of the victims and trade unions have claimed the deaths were due to starvation and malnutrition, but the state administration has rejected the assertions attributing illness as the reason of death.
 
"The dues to the workers including certain allowances and wages have not been paid for past few months. A police case was initiated earlier on the matter and now CID has taken up the investigation of the case," said Inspector General (II) CID Vineet Kumar Goyal. 
 
"We have registered a case against G.P. Goenka and his son under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code," he added.
 
In pursuance of the investigation, the CID had summoned Goenka and his son for questioning.
 
The duo though could not appear and had sent a representative to the CID headquarters in the city.
 
"There were some outstanding payments. We showed to them (CID) what was outstanding," said company whole-time director M.H. Chinoy after meeting the CID officers.
 
In September, Right to Food and Work Campaign (RFWC)- a network of organisations and activists - had submitted a report to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claiming that the closed and abandoned tea estates of the company could trigger a major humanitarian crisis with a population of over 75,000 dependent of the tea gardens "forced to live in near starvation".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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