"This White Paper is in reality a non-paper. It is rather like a bikini as it conceals all the essentials and reveals only the non-essentials," senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh told reporters here today.
The issue of Indian black money stashed abroad has been raked by the BJP time and again both inside and outside Parliament. Party veteran LK Advani had taken out a month long Jan Chetna yatra across the country to highlight the issue.
In the press interaction today, Singh said the White Paper has not revealed the quantum of Indian black money kept in tax havens abroad. Neither has the government shared details of steps it has taken to repatriate this wealth.
"The bank deposits of Indians in Swiss banks have decreased from Rs 23,373 crore in 2006 to Rs 9,295 crore in 2010. The government has not disclosed where this money has gone. Has it come back to India? Or has it been transferred to some other tax haven? Or has it been invested somewhere?" Jaswant Singh said.
The Opposition has been demanding that the government make all efforts to bring back this money as has been done by countries like US, Germany and Ireland, among others.
Singh said the White Paper is also silent on the black money made by illegal sale of arms and armaments, evasions on stamp duty especially in land transactions, and use of such funds in politics.
"This document has several shortcomings. It does not explicitly explain what has been done to deal with black money in arms and armaments," Singh said. He alleged that the generation of black money through stamp duty evasion especially in land transactions has not been revealed."The black money made by corrupt politicians has also not been revealed. This is a disappointing document. An opportunity of cleansing politics has been lost," Singh said.
The BJP leader insisted that unilateral efforts by the Indian government will not be enough and it should work with other governments to bring back the black money.
"The names of the black money account holders have not been revealed," Singh said, adding that he was aware there are confidentiality clauses but still the names of those who have made money through illegal means should be exposed.
A White Paper is aimed at separating the truth from falsehoods and this document has failed to do so, Singh said. Asked if Indian money abroad is being brought in through Participatory Notes from Mauritius and other countries, Singh said, "This is not an issue of Participatory Notes. It comes through the stock exchange investments by FIIs. Participatory Notes should not be seen as a solution for black money."Singh maintained that the investment climate in India today is no longer what it was during the erstwhile NDA government.
The BJP leader said countries like the US had taken up the issue of black money to fight terrorism and drug money for which also such funds are used.
"Even the UN adopted a resolution on the issue," Singh said. Senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi dismissed the white paper saying it reflects lack of government's concern about the magnitude of the problem.
"I think this is a black paper on black money. Government is failing to understand the magnitude of this issue. I don't understand who the government is afraid of," Joshi told reporters outside Parliament.
He also regretted the fact that no case has been initiated against anyone and demanded that a "meaningful" white paper should be introduced.