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Defensive govt ducks Kejriwal bouncer, says probe on to fix a/cs

New Delhi, Nov 10, 2012, DHNS: 2:09 IST
Chidambaram. File Photo
The Union government on Saturday said information revealed by France on certain bank accounts is being looked into, while foreign tax authorities have been contacted to obtain more information about account holders.

The Centre, however, refused to divulge any information on black money stashed away by Indians abroad, as alleged by Arvind Kejriwal.

The finance ministry said the French government informed the Centre about “certain bank accounts reportedly held by certain individuals/non-individuals in a foreign bank” in June, 2011.

An official release said a reference to this matter was made by former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee during a debate on an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on December 14, 2011. Questions in this matter were answered in the Rajya Sabha on August 23, 2012. It stated that information received from the Government of France has been analysed and investigations initiated by the different jurisdictional authorities under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

“Investigations in the matter are under progress, including with foreign tax authorities, to obtain more information with regard to the reported account holders. Appropriate action has been taken on these cases and further action including assessment, tax collection and levy of penalty will be taken as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and based on the facts of each case.”

The government, however, refused to reveal names of the account holders. “It would be pertinent to point out that the information received from the Government of France is covered by the confidentiality clause under the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between India and France and can be used only for the tax purposes specified there in.”

Kejriwal had alleged that in HSBC Bank alone, 700 depositors held more than Rs 6,000 crore.

Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam had said in Parliament in August that investigations conducted on the basis of information received from the French government have led to the detection of undisclosed income of Rs 565 crore and tax to the tune of Rs 181 crore was already realised.

“The information received is covered by the confidentiality clause under the DTACs and can only be used for the tax purposes specified therein. Thus, the contents of the information received under DTAC cannot be disclosed to persons other than those involved in the assessment or collection of, the enforcement or prosecution in respect of, or the determination of appeals in relation to, the taxes covered by the agreement,” he had said.

Reacting to Kejriwal’s charges, the Congress on Saturday said his only aim was to defame people.

“If Kejriwal has any evidence, he should go to the government or any government agency. By levelling allegations he can only defame somebody but cannot get anything substantial out of it. This shows that he is only interested in defaming people,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.

Alvi also demanded that Kejriwal should disclose the name of the newly inducted minister in the Union Cabinet, from whom he had claimed to have obtained the documents.

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