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'Make having money abroad without permission an offence'

March 16, 2012 23:16 IST

Key Team Anna member Justice (retd) N Santosh Hegde said on Friday that keeping money abroad without permission should be made an offence, as that alone would force countries to part information on such offenders with India.

Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, welcomed the budget announcement on mandatory reporting of assets held by individuals abroad and re-opening of I-T return filings up to 16 years which are among the steps being proposed by the government to tackle the menace of black money.

But the former Karnataka Lokayukta insisted that these steps, while being welcome, are no "replacement" for a bill on strong Lokpal, which is necessary and "certainly needed".

"...you got to make having money abroad without permission an offence", Hegde said. "Then alone the countries where the money is are likely to give the information (on Indians who stashed ill-gotten wealth in those nations)".

The government has also proposed slapping a tax of 30 per cent on undisclosed money, credits, investments and expenditures, irrespective of the slab of income.

Strengthening its efforts to check black money flow in the system, the Budget has proposed mandatory reporting for every resident having any assets, including financial interest in any entity, overseas. The same would be applicable for those having signing authority in any account located outside India.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Anantkumar said the budget would further fuel price rise even as the aam-aadmi was reeling under staggering inflation.

The United Progressive Alliance has an ostrich like policy in respect to the problems of the poor common man, he said. Moreover, the country was suffering from stagnancy in the agricultural and industrial sectors, Anantkumar added.

He alleged that the Congress was misleading the nation by announcing grand Food Security Bill even as there was no provision in the budget for it.
PTI
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