The Bold Voice of J&K

Dead end

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India’s quest for black money looks like meeting its dead end. With Union Government filing an application in the Supreme Court, saying it cannot disclose details of foreign accounts held by Indians which are governed by bilateral double taxation avoidance treaties is the same stand which Congress-led UPA Government had taken in February, 2011. At that time government stated it can’t disclose the names of the account holders allegedly for black money, in Germany’s Liechtenstein Bank because of international treaties and secrecy clause in the agreements. The BJP has been promising that it will get back the black money allegedly stashed away in Swiss banks. The then PM, too, had conceded that there may be vast sums of such money and that the Congress would try and get it back. On Friday, senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani who is also the petitioner, termed this an attempt by Narendra Modi Government to shield those who have stashed black money abroad. Jethmalani said such a plea could be made only by crooks who have illegally parked their ill-gotten money abroad and not by a democratically elected government. The Apex Court agreed to hear Centre’s application on 28th October. Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi said the government cannot reveal names of those foreign account holders against whom no prosecution is launched. The Attorney General told the Apex Court that revelation of names of Liechtenstein Bank account holders has been seriously objected to by the German Government. The government is on the verge of signing important double taxation avoidance treaties with many countries, including USA in December. Jethmalani took a strong critical view for making such an application to the Court and said it could help only criminals. Jethmalani has written a letter to the Prime Minister on this issue conveying his strong views and requesting him to take it as his last wish. The Swiss Banks have been calling for well founded concrete evidence of wrongdoing and they have been asking time and again that the information has to come through official channels. Black money and Swiss bank accounts were some good election fodder for BJP during the Lok Sabha elections.

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