No cover-up, but can't reveal names: Govt

The ministers were said to have expressed concern over the hullabaloo over black money and gaining impression that the government had something to hide on the black money issue.

Raising the issue himself, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred to various treaties which, he said, barred the government from disclosing names about whom it had information regarding accounts in foreign banks.

Steps taken
The government, smarting under the apex court’s hard-hitting observations that black money was akin to plundering of the nation, asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes to explain to the media the steps taken to unearth unaccounted money.

Defence Minister A K Antony went on record to say that there will be “no cover-up” in disclosing names of people who have Swiss bank accounts as the government is committed to bring back all the money stashed abroad.

“Our government is committed to bring all that money and find out the truth...We are determined to find out the truth. That effort is on and we will not cover-up anything,” he told reporters.

International treaties
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who briefed the Cabinet over the developments related to the black money issue so far, was understood to have said the government had received information about the black money accounts in foreign banks as per international treaties and if this was revealed, no government would share such details in future.

The cabinet was told that the information was shared purely for taxation purposes and the government intends to do the same without making public the names of account holders or other details.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday pulled up the government for withholding information on black money stashed in foreign banks, saying it was not just limited to tax evasion but was a “mind boggling crime” amounting to “theft” and “plunder” of national wealth having security ramifications.

Hours later, the Prime Minister said “some information” about black money accounts had been provided to India “for use in the collection of due taxes. We cannot use the information for any other purposes and that information cannot be made public” as the country cannot violate the obligations under international treaties.

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