Getting back black money 'difficult,' says minister

Getting back black money 'difficult,' says minister

The government was finding it "difficult" to get black money stashed in overseas tax havens because the countries lacked the political will to curb the menace, Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy said Monday.

Addressing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) programme to train Interpol officers on how to investigate and recover black money, the minister said asset recovery needed cooperation from other nations as well.

"Political will in other countries is not very encouraging. They say we are bound by laws," the minister said while inaugurating the programme.

"We are finding it difficult to bring black money stashed away in foreign banks."

Tackling black money, he said, assumed more significance because terror outfits were repeatedly using innovative electronic ways to deposit wealth in tax havens "for siphoning of funds for terrorism related activities".

The training programme by the CBI, India's premier investigating agency, is significant because the government is committed to get back the wealth hidden in foreign banks, Narayanasamy said.

The six-day training exercise is being attended by 30 Interpol officers from countries like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Britian, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. This is part of Interpol's Global Programme on anti-corruption and asset recovery. 

"The purpose of this programme is to enhance the knowledge and skills of investigators and prosecutors in tracking assets of mass corruption, and making effective use of legal assistance in international and trans-border investigations," a CBI spokesperson said about the training. This is the first such training exercise for police officers, investigators and prosecutors of Interpol member countries.

CBI head A.P. Singh said corruption had become a "major challenge" in good governance."There is no single remedy for fighting the menace. The battle has to be fought at many levels."

He said "differences in legal systems, high costs in coordinating investigations, inadequate international cooperation and bank secrecy laws" had made the fight against corruption "difficult".