Shocking: Black Money case may become a flop show for Modi govt

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Black Money
New Delhi, Oct 31: As they had promised during poll campaigns before Lok Sabha elections 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet ministers have kept their words and indeed disclosed seven names and submitted a list of 627 names to Supreme Court in connection with Black Money case. Despite all hullabaloos, now it seems that the black money case may become a flop show for Modi government at the centre.

According to media reports, the court will be able to prosecute only 27 people out of 627 for having black money in foreign accounts and the government may recover Rs 750 crore only.

Several media reports quoted sources as saying that 289 people out of 627 have zero balance in the list of Indians who have accounts in HSBC bank, Geneva, in which tax probe for suspected black money has to be completed by March 2015.

Out of 627 names submitted by the government to the apex court, 13 accounts belongs to the corporates and trusts, plus 315 are taxable. Moreover, 136 account holders will deposit taxes, added sources. Hence, the government may get a mere Rs 750 crore as taxes.

Why black money case may become a flop show for Modi govt?

Though total amount of black money deposited in foreign banks by Indians is unknown, some sources claimed that a total exceeding US $1.4 trillion are stashed in Switzerland. Other reports claimed that the total amount held in all Swiss banks by citizens of India is about US$2 billion.

In Feb 2012, the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had said that Indians have $500 billion of illegal funds in foreign tax havens, more than any other country.

In March 2012, the Government of India clarified in its parliament that the CBI Director's statement on $500 billion of illegal money was an estimate based on a statement made to India's Supreme Court in July 2011.

It was claimed that Modi government may give a major boost to Indian economy if it manages to recover the black money stahsed in foreign banks. But now it seems that the government might be disappointed if it recovers a mere Rs 750 crore.

The Supreme Court constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising two retired judges of the top court Justices MB Shah and Arijit Pasayat as chairman and vice chairman respectively. The SIT has been asked to complete its probe by March 2015. The apex court assured the central government that SIT will maintain all secrecy of the names submitted by the government in connection with black money case.

Modi govt's stand on black money:

The Central government on Tuesday, Oct 28 submitted a list of 627 Indians in a sealed cover. Names of the people, who have stashed untaxed money in HSBC Bank, Geneva, have been mentioned in list.

The government had asked the Supreme Court to moderate its previous order as the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, "We don't have anything to hide."

"But we only have one request. Nothing should be done by your lordships to impede the government's ability to get further information by entering into new treaties and agreements- bilateral and international- where the confidentiality clause is very binding. Revealing of information also has its impact on double taxation avoidance agreements," added Rohtagi who has been representing the government in the court.

What's Supreme Court's stand on black money:

Despite receiving 627 names, the court asked the Modi govt to raise all its bilateral, international agreement obligation and confidentiality clause before the SIT.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu told, "We give you (govt) liberty to place all your difficulties and grievances regarding treaties and confidentiality clause before the SIT. We are confident it will have a solution to your problem."

The CJI also said, "We would not have asked for the full list of names for ourselves. But see you (Centre) started the problem by asking for a modification and clarification on order to disclose the names."

"Then we had a suspicion on your intention and this prompted us to ask for the list. We had earlier placed faith in the SIT. It knew its job as we have authorised them. They are not laymen," added the CJI while cornering the central government to change its stand of not disclosing all names citing treaties with foreign countries.

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