Millennium Post

Swiss list puts Modi govt on the defensive

Swiss list puts Modi govt on the defensive
“The government or the revenue department already has most of the names that came out today. It is not about the names. In addition, the evidence of the accounts and the stolen data is required so that a strong case can be made. On the basis of just names, the required inquiry cannot be conducted in the court,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reacting to a newspaper report, which came out with the list of Indians having bank accounts with HSBC’s Switzerland branch.

Stressing that the Modi government had put in place a vigorous system for digging up black money in the last six months, Jaitley said that sixty prosecutions had been initiated on those who had stashed money in foreign banks.

“While some names are common to the old and new HSBC lists. Both the lists will be carefully examined. The original list of 600 Indians was based on information for the period 1999-2000. The new list is compiled in the new report with far more recent data from 2006-2007,” said a government official adding the Special Investigation Team was already probing illicit accounts.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that the party stood vindicated as the names it had revealed in connection with black money earlier figured in the HSBC bank’s Geneva branch list naming 60 Indians and entities.

“The names I revealed in a PC on 9 Nov 2012 are there in list today. We stand vindicated. But big question is - what did 1st Cong and now BJP do? Nothing? Why? Some of these people claim to have both BJP and Congress in their pocket. Why doesn’t BJP govt act against HSBC officials? They will spill beans. US did precisely that,” the AAP leader tweeted.

“The government is left with no choice but has to hunt down these people who have got illegal money in the bank accounts because the government has to prove they are really serious about it,” AAP leader Ashutosh told mediapersons.

Earlier in December, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had submitted a report to the Supreme Court which revealed that persons in the HSBC list held Rs. 4,479 crore in Swiss banks. In an official statement released by the SIT, it said that out of 628 names on the HSBC list received from France, 201 are either non-residents or non-traceable, leaving 427 persons’ cases as actionable cases.

The Supreme Court had directed the Centre to ensure that the ongoing probe on those suspected of stashing black money in bank accounts abroad is completed by March 2015. Recovering the black money stashed abroad was also figured prominently in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand, industrialists Ambani brothers and Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal have denied having illegal Swiss bank accounts.

“There is no black (money)...There is nothing to hide, nothing to worry. (I am) following all regulations and rules,” Goyal told reporters.

A Reliance Industries spokesperson said: “Neither Reliance Industries nor Mr Mukesh Ambani have or had any illegitimate bank accounts anywhere in the world.” Similarly, a spokesperson for Anil Ambani said: “Mr Ambani does not have any HSBC overseas account”.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane also claimed that neither him nor any of his  family members had Swiss bank accounts.

“Earlier my name had also come, there is no truth in it. Neither me nor my wife nor my family have any account abroad,” he said. Spokespersons of Emaar MGF and Dabur group- did not comment.
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