Don''t have info on Swiss a/c then give affidavit: CIC to MEA

New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) The CIC has directed theExternal Affairs Ministry to submit an affidavit that it doesnot have any information about the Indians who have stashedtheir black money in Swiss banks or about investigations insuch matters.

The Central Information Commission''s order comesbarely days after the Supreme Court questioned the governmentfor keeping under wraps the names of individuals who havestashed blackmoney in foreign banks.

"The Commission directs the CPIO, MEA to submit hisaffidavit affirming on oath on a non-judicial stamp paper thefact that neither any list of the account holders nor anyother information about such investigation, informationwhereof has been sought by the applicant is available onrecord," Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit said.

The direction to submit the affidavit within threedays came after the MEA denied having any records pertainingto the accounts held by Indians in Swiss Banks for depositingtheir blackmoney and said that no such information has everbeen provided by the European country.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by onePromod�Chawla who sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariatif Swiss and German governments passed any information aboutaccounts held by Indian nationals in their banks, the detailsof such accounts and steps taken by the government toinvestigate such accounts.

The application was forwarded, under the provisions ofthe transparency law, to the MEA to provide a suitable reply.

The Ministry said no�such�information�is�availablewith it and that Finance Ministry is�re�negotiating theDouble�Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Switzerland.

Chawla then filed an appeal with the CentralInformation Commission saying he was not satisfied with thereply provided by the MEA.

Information Commissioner Dixit directed the MEAofficials to again search the records and provide informationto the applicant.

During the hearing, MEA again reiterated that norecords pertaing to information about blackmoney deposited inforeign banks could be traced by it.

After going through the arguments of both sides, Dixitpointed out that according to MEA there is no record of anylist of Indians holding secret accounts in Swiss Banks orelsewhere, provided by Government of Switzerland or by anyother country to MEA, as also no record of any suchinformation having been submitted by Indian Ambassadors.

She directed the official to submit a copy of a dulysworn and attested affidavit with the Commission and RTIapplicant before January 20.

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