Govt pursuing tax evasion investigations with Germany

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New Delhi, May 22 (UNI) Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said press reports accusing the government of being reluctant in pursuing investigations relating to Indian tax evaders having slashed large amounts of money in Liechtenstein, a small landloced country between Austria and Switzerland, were incorrect and his Ministry had taken all necessary steps in this regard.

The Minister told newspersons here that a report appeared in a Delhi paper yesterday and again appeared in another paper this morning in this regard, but regretted that the reporters who had filed the story had not verifed the details with his Ministry.

Mr Chidambaram said Leader of the Opposition L K Advani had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the issue on May 16.

He said he had replied to Mr Advani stating the action that the government was taking in the matter.

On February 28,2008, his Ministry had written to the German Tax Office to provide details of Indian tax payers who have an account in a bank in Liechtenstein.

In March 2008, the German tax office had written back saying that they did not have the data ready as yet, but would furnish it to Indian authorities as soon as details were available with them.

He said the double taxation treaty between India and Germany provides for exchange of such data.

Mr Chidambaram said his Ministry had been pursuing the matter even before Mr Advani had raised the issue and assured that his Ministry will spare no effort to get the requisite details.

Reports said German tax authorities were in possession of a disk containing information on accounts held in the Alpine principaltiy and in Switzerland.

The reports said Germany would provide details of the 800 non- German account holders which would be given to the respective countries free of cost.

UNI GS RP HT1656

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