Govt received info on Swiss bank accounts; taking action: FM

"Whenever information about money deposited in any foreign bank account is obtained the same is first verified and then action is taken in accordance with law to bring the undisclosed amount to taxation," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The government has received information about Indians having accounts in Swiss banks and is taking appropriate action to bring back funds stashed abroad, Parliament was informed today.

"We have received some information with regard to some deposits in Swiss Bank," reports PTI quoting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"Whenever information about money deposited in any foreign bank account is obtained the same is first verified and then action is taken in accordance with law to bring the undisclosed amount to taxation," he said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The minister, however, did not disclose the names of accounts holders saying that "information received under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) is covered by the confidentiality provision of the DTAA".

He was replying to a query on whether the government has received some information regarding black money deposited in Swiss banks.

Mr Mukherjee further said the government has formulated a five-pronged strategy in this regard.

This comprised joining the global crusade against 'black money', creating an appropriate legislative framework and setting up institutions for dealing with illicit funds, developing systems for implementation and imparting skills to the manpower for effective action.

Further, in absence of any credible information regarding the quantum of black money, the government has roped in three leading think-tanks NCAER, NIFM and NIPFP to conduct a study on unaccounted income generated inside and outside the country.

"Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed with the institutes on 21 March 2011. The study is expected to be completed in a period of 18 months at an expenditure of Rs7.76 crore," Mr Mukherjee said.

The government has also constituted a high level committee on black money headed by CBDT chairman to strengthen laws to curb generation of black money in India, its illegal transfer abroad and its recovery.

Meanwhile, in reply to a separate question, minister of state for finance SS Palanimanickam currently India has DTAA with 80 countries, while it has signed Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with five nations.

"The committee shall consult all stakeholders and submit its report within a period of six months," Mr Palanimanickam said.

DTAA and TIEA are the two instruments through which information can be obtained from other nations.

The government is in the process of amending pacts with a host of countries to get information from banks.

"The government had identified 22 priority countries/ jurisdictions for negotiations of TIEAs. Negotiations have been completed with 16 countries," Mr Palanimanickam said.

To a query on whether the investigations against the persons who are having bank accounts in Liechtenstein have been concluded, the minister said the total income assessed for 18 individual beneficiaries was Rs39.66 crore and the total tax demand raised was Rs24.26 crore.

"Prosecution proceedings for tax evasion have been initiated in the case of 17 individuals," he said adding that information relating to these cases has been handed over to the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED).

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COMMENTS

RNandakumar

6 years ago

Even a novice would tell you that with sufficient advance notice given by the govt many swiss accts by now would have migrated to other safer heavens where India does not have any treaty yet. It is a case of bolting the door after all the horses have left the stable.

Bombay HC seeks reply from CBI in Adarsh missing files case

The court's remarks came after YP Singh, counsel for petitioner Simpreet Singh pointed out that the four persons arrested by CBI in connection with the Adarsh files gone missing from the urban development department, were granted bail after the agency failed to file its charge-sheet within the stipulated 60-day period

Mumbai: Coming down heavily on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its slow pace of probe into the missing files case of the scam-hit Adarsh Housing Society, the Bombay High Court has sought a reply from the investigating agency tomorrow, reports PTI.

"This is a very serious matter. There should not be any soft handling. We are not happy with the speed of the investigation and CBI's conduct," a division bench of justices Ranjana Desai and RV More said.

The court's remarks came after YP Singh, counsel for petitioner Simpreet Singh pointed out that the four persons arrested by CBI in connection with the Adarsh files gone missing from the urban development department, were granted bail after the agency failed to file its charge-sheet within the stipulated 60-day period.

"Who are the officers in-charge for the case? Name them.

We will take appropriate action against them. This should not have happened. Why could you not file a charge-sheet in time?" Justice Desai questioned.

The court further remarked that CBI has arrested the 'small people' in the case but has to also look into the role of 'higher officials'.

Asking the CBI to speed up the probe, justice Desai remarked, "The petitioners are right in saying that they have no faith in you (CBI)... We want to ensure that the faith placed on CBI by the court is not misplaced."

Mr Singh further pointed out to the court that CBI is giving preferential treatment to some big personalities like Union ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh.

"Treat everybody equally irrespective of their status.

Expedite the investigation. You (CBI) cannot be going in your own pace," justice Desai said.

Additional solicitor general Darius Khambata, appearing for the CBI, submitted a status report to the court in a sealed cover and said the agency is questioning and recording the statements of all persons connected to the scam.

He further said that the Income Tax department is looking into the alleged benami flats and transactions.

The court has directed the CBI to file another status report by 5th September on the entire probe into the case.

Simpreet had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the high court to monitor the CBI investigation in the Adarsh scam.

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HDFC Bank launches travel credit cards

The range of cards will be available on both Visa and MasterCard platforms

HDFC Bank has launched a pack of three premium credit cards. With the Global Indian logging thousands of air miles, the three premium credit cards-Regalia, Superia and Platinum Edge-will offer them a complete solution to all their travel needs.   

The cards come loaded with unique privileges with the USP being its reward point redemption system which gives one the freedom to choose from a wide array of airlines to cash in on the air miles accumulated on the card.

The range of cards will be available on both Visa and MasterCard platforms. The Bank has a credit card base of 50.5 lakh as of 31 March 2011.

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