After dithering on revealing names of foreign account holders, government reveals 3 names in the SC
In an affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court today, the government revealed 3 names of Swiss bank account holders.
TV reports said the three names were, Pradip Burman, Director of the Burman Group, Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya, owner of the Shreeji group in Rajkot, and Radha S Timblo, owner of the Timblo Group Pvt Ltd and Goa based miner.
Television reports reveal that a few more are under investigation, four of these being from the Congress, including a former congress minister from the UPA. While campaigning during elections, the BJP had promised to disclose names of foreign account holders, if it came into power. It, however, changed stance after coming to power, citing violation of tax agreements with other countries as a reason. The decision drew flak from within the party as well as from the opposition. Moneylife wrote about it here.
The Modi government is known to have built pressure on Switzerland in particular, to extradite to India, billions of unaccounted dollars stashed away in its highly secretive banks. Based on a directive of the Supreme Court, the government was swift to action in setting up a Special Investigation Team to look into the matter. Sucheta Dalal wrote The Black Money Trail covering this issue.
The Global Financial Integrity, a Washington based think tank, estimates that Indian have, between 1948 and 2008, parked an around USD 462 billion in tax havens. The term black money is used for income that remains undisclosed to avoid taxation or criminal links. About one third of this money is opined to have been invested in real estate, followed by manufacturing and gold.
This also comes to light from the fact that gold imports from Switzerland to India have reached record high this year, being over 11 billion Swiss francs. In September alone, gold worth 2.2 billion has been brought into India. This scenario seems parallel to the time when Swiss banks are introducing conditions on their Indian clients, in an attempt to ‘derisk’ themselves. Banks operating in Switzerland and those headquartered in Switzerland have lately asked their Indian clients to sign undertakings to take responsibility of any risks arising out of any regulatory actions against them by foreign governments.
Some banks have even asked their Indian clients to close down their bank accounts in case they do not wish to sign such undertakings.
In a previous submission to the Supreme Court, the BJP government had said it could not reveal the names of the account holders in foreign tax havens. The BJP had cited technicalities in the tax agreements with foreign nations as the reason.
For an understanding of the HSBC black money list, watch Anil Harish explain the issue :
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In a ceremony attended by BJP big guns and oppositions leaders, the new CM of Haryana was sworn in on Sunday.
Manohar Lal Khattar, who began joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1977 at the age of 24, was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Haryana on Sunday. Khattar is known to be close to Prime minster Narendra Modi, having worked with him in Haryana in 1996.
Khattar comes from Nindana, a village, in Haryana. He was born to a family that arrived in Haryana after partition. Coming from a humble agricultural background, Khattar is known for his clean and simple image.
This is the first time the Khattar has been elected as an MLA. He is the first Punjabi to become CM of Haryana and the first non-jat leader to become CM in the last 18 years.
The 60-year old Khattar was administered the oath at a ceremony attended by the big guns of the BJP and the Haryana opposition parties, except ex-CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The Governor of Haryana, Kaptan Singh Solanki administered the oath in the presence of PM Modi, Amit Shah, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, among other BJP stalwarts.
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