India can now sign treaties with five more countries in its pursuit to bring back black money stashed abroad with the Cabinet on Friday approving such pacts.
Under the agreements, India can seek information regarding secret bank accounts.
The five countries include Malta, Georgia and Uruguay, sources said. India has already signed Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) with 79 countries and modifications in such pacts were needed in 74 of them to broaden the scope of article of exchange of information to include exchange of banking information.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee earlier this month said negotiations for a total of 23 pacts in line with international standards have been completed and 10 for Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs).
The government has been under attack from the Opposition which has been alleging that it was not doing enough to retrieve the black money. Government has been insisting that it has been making all efforts to bring back the black money but it was going to be a long haul.
Detailing the steps being taken, Mukherjee recently said that government has formulated a five-pronged strategy to combat the menace of illicit funds generated both as a result of tax evasion and corruption.
He said during the last 18 months, the government had collected tax on black money to the tune of Rs 34,601 crore (Rs 346.01 billion) and detected undisclosed income of about Rs 15,000 crore (Rs 150 billion).