No effective steps taken to bring back black money, Jethmalani tells SC

| Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 10:52
First Published |

No effective steps taken to bring back black money, Jethmalani tells SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday was told that the unaccounted black money stashed away to tax havens would not be recovered as the central government and its bureaucrats entrusted with the task have not taken any effective steps to recover it.

Describing the steps taken so far to recover the money as "great fraud on the nation", eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani told a bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice A.K. Sikri that the "present government is not taking any effective step to bring back the black money stashed away from India".

Telling the court that its own judgment was being "frustrated", Jethmalani asked the court to direct that the government should not invoke the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty to block the information as the treaty was to protect the honest traders from paying the double taxes.

"My conscience says that the present government and its bureaucrats will not recover this money" as most of them were loyal to UPA government which resisted every efforts to bring back the unaccounted money parked in foreign banks, he contended.

Jethmalani said that government was not ratifying the the United Nations convention facilitating the exchange of such information.

Jethmalani, on whose petition the apex court had July 4, 2011 directed the setting up of the SIT, told the court said that much publicised campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Lok Sabha elections to bring back the black money has been described as ""Chunavi Jumla"(empty promise) by Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah.

He said that this was said by Amit Shah in an interview with a news channel has not been denied either by him or anybody else in the authorities.

Giving the magnitude of the money that has been taken out of the country, involved, Jethmalani told the court that Professor R. Vaidyanathan, an expert in the field from Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore, "has put the figures at $1.4 trillion equivalent to about Rs. 700,000,000,000,000."

In the meanwhile the SIT in its third status report submitted to the court May 12 under the heading "Cricket Betting" said" "Large amount of black money is transacted every year. As per FICCI report, it come to more than Rs.300,000 crores. This is required to be controlled."

The SIT has referred to the report of Global Financial Integrity - an arm of the Ford Foundation - which has said that flow of unaccounted money from India was "much more" and remains "uncontrolled".

According to GFI, said SIT in its status report, the average illicit financial flow for 10 years, beginning from 2002, comes to $33,393 million, thereby India ranks at No.5 out of 142 countries in this regard.

The subsequent report of the GFI, the SIT has said, that the "illicit financial flow for India for the year 2012 was $94,757 million dollars that is a Rs.593,557 crore approximately".

It said that out of 628 cases in the list of HSBC foreign accounts, four names are duplicate/ repeated and in respect of 289 cases, no amount is mentioned. In 339 cases, the net amount comes to Rs.6,400 crore.

The status report said that of the total 624 cases, 422 cases pertain to Indian residents and are traceable. Out of these, amounts have been admitted either fully or partly in 210 cases and no amount in the others.

Of the 624 cases excluding four repeated/duplicate entries, 403 cases are actionable.

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