Black money menace
It would be surprising if Union finance minister P. Chidambaram’s threat to his Swiss counterpart — to declare Switzerland an uncooperative nation for not sharing information on the 562 Indians who allegedly stashed their black money in Swiss banks — is actually carried out.
The threat has trade implications. These names were given in 2011 by the French government. The other governments who were also given the names of their citizens were the US, UK, Canada and Australia. The US did manage to get information about its tax-evading citizens from the Swiss.
The Swiss rejection of India’s demand could be because the Indian government has not really done its homework properly to prove that these Indians avoided paying taxes and stashed money abroad. It seems to be depending solely on the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) to get the Swiss to divulge information. If this is true, it only proves what the Supreme Court said this week when it slammed the government, saying it is not serious about getting back the black money stashed abroad even after 65 years.
Ever since the government was given these 562 names there has been a chorus of demands to make these names public. But the government only said the tax department was looking into it. The country has never been told about the outcome of the income-tax investigations — whether any of the suspects had been guilty of tax evasion — nor about the amounts involved. It is obvious that the government is more interested in protecting, rather than exposing, these 562 Indians. The Swiss saw through it.
Credit: Asian Age