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Govt works on money stashed abroad

Last updated on: January 21, 2011 12:19 IST

Govt works on money stashed abroad

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Santosh Tiwari & Surajeet Das Gupta in New Delhi

Under attack from various quarters on the issue of black money, the government has stepped up action on this front.

A senior Income Tax department official told Business Standard the process for raising tax demands had been initiated in a number of cases involving those mentioned in the list of names supplied to the Supreme Court, received originally from the German government.

The government has filed an affidavit in the SC on details of money deposited by 26 persons in the Liechtenstein Bank of Germany.

It had also argued for keeping the information confidential, a stand criticised by rival counsel and the judges, too.

Thorough investigation is on in the rest of the cases in the list and notices would be sent to the persons concerned once there was clinching evidence of evasion, said the official.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Photographs: Reuters
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The department is identifying tax evasion cases from the information it has got from various countries under the normal exchange route.

Tax treaties with a number of countries and jurisdictions were being updated speedily for acquiring information on money stashes abroad, he added.

In particular, the government was in an advanced stage of preparation for signing treaties with the Cayman Islands and Indonesia for sharing of tax information.

The official said a scheme being discussed to offer conditional immunity if money parked outside the country was brought back had the potential of generating additional revenue of Rs 50,000-70,000 crore (Rs 500-700 billion) in a year.

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Image: Credit Suisse.

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The issue was discussed at a Union Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Sources said several ministers noted a growing public perception that the government had something to hide on the issue.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, however, iterated the government could not disclose the names on whom it had information regarding accounts in foreign banks, as it was bound by treaty riders on disclosure.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee made it clear in the meeting that the information was shared purely for taxation purposes and the names would not be disclosed, as no government would share such information after that, said sources.

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