As a fresh HSBC list emerged on the issue of Black Money, the Union Finance and I&B Minister Arun Jaitley has said that the details that have emerged are the ones which the Centre already has with it and added that the question was not about names but evidences that the government needs.
Reacting to an expose by the Indian Express, conducted as part of a global investigation called Swiss Leaks, Jaitley said, “Just names are not enough for legal action, we need evidence,” adding, “No action was taken since 2010, which gave an opportunity to these account holders to take away the money.”
“In first phase, all the names of HSBC were given and the information was provided. The government and the Revenue Department communicated about 628 accounts – both identified and unidentified ones.” Jaitley said the names have been identified in a big way but some names remain unidentified. Assessment of 350 account holders has been done.
The Finance and I & B Minister said the process of assessing will get over by March 31. “We have said that all those who are illegal will be prosecuted. As the assessment is going on, approximately 60 prosecutions have been launched,” he said. He said the government had sent one delegation to Switzerland in October, 2014. “When I went to Davos, I had a meeting with Finance Minister and Secretary. Some people have accepted this during assessment,” he said.
Jaitley reiterated that penalty and prosecution is a way to extract money from the account holders. The Revenue Department is in active touch will all the account holders. “The details which have come out are the same which we have,” he said. While talking about the Swiss policy, he said they do not act on stolen data. “We had an agreement with Switzerland that they will provide us details if we provide additional evidence to the stolen data,” he said.
Jaitley said the evidence should be authentic and proving them without evidence will be redundant. “Some additional names should be those of residents of India but the case will be different if they are foreigners,” he said.
The black money net has widened with a new list by the HSBC claiming that nearly 1200 Indians hold accounts in Swiss Banks. The list includes top businessmen and politicians. The list surfaces barely 24 hours after the government started proceedings against 60 people who allegedly have black money stashed away in illegal foreign accounts.