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Ramdev threat! Govt talks big on unearthing black money

Last updated on: June 1, 2011 17:35 IST

Ramdev threat! Govt talks big on unearthing black money

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Amid the threat of yoga guru Baba Ramdev to go on a hunger strike on the issue of black money from June 4, the government on Wednesday said the series of steps taken by it to unearth unaccounted-for wealth have started yielding results.

The Income Tax Department, sources said, has detected unaccounted income of Rs 18,750 crore (Rs 187.50 billion) in the last two financial years and collected an additional Rs 22,697 crore (Rs 226.97 billion) as taxes by stepping up vigil on cross border transactions.

Besides, they added, the government detected mis-pricing of goods to the tune of Rs 33,784 crore (Rs 337.84 billion) in the last two years.

Called as transfer pricing in tax parlance, the mis-pricing has emerged as the main method of transferring illicit funds outside the country.

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Image: Baba Ramdev.

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The success achieved in checking the menace of black money, sources said, can be attributed to the focused strategy adopted by the Union finance ministry.

The focus of the strategy includes stopping the transfer of funds to other countries; better realisation of taxes through special attention to cross broader transactions; unearthing the black money in the country and enhanced flow of information from foreign jurisdictions.

The income tax department, sources further said, has collected 7,704 pieces of information related to tax evasion and money laundering from different countries and is going ahead with investigations.

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Meanwhile, senior ministers are trying to persuade Baba Ramdev not to go on hunger strike as the government is already taking steps to curb the menace of black money.

Referring to information received in respect of LGT Bank of Liechtenstien from Germany, sources said, the government has already launched prosecution proceedings against several individuals and raised a tax demand of Rs 75.86 crore (Rs 758.6 million).

Besides, the government has made 175 requests to seek specific information about tax payers from the countries with whom India had signed tax treaties.

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Pointing out that generation and detection of black money is a on-going process, sources said, the government has adopted a five-pronged strategy to deal with the issue.

The elements of the strategy include joining global crusade against black money, creating an appropriate legislative framework, setting up of institutions to deal with illicit funds, developing systems and imparting skills to officers for effective action.

As part of the drive, the government had also constituted a committee under Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman to examine legal and administrative framework and suggest steps to strengthen laws to curb generation of black money.

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It has also set up Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to deal with tax crimes related to illegal activities.

The other important initiatives include commissioning of a study by economic think-tanks to estimate the quantum of black money held within and outside the country. The estimates of such funds range from $500 billion to $1,400 billion.

The study, to be undertaken jointly by NCAER, NIPFP and NIFM, will also suggest steps to bring back unaccounted money kept outside the country.



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