Jethmalani slams Jaitley's move on black money

Jethmalani slams Jaitley's move on black money

Prominent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, an expelled BJP MP, has shot off an angry letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that he should not take any steps to investigate black money account holders without providing information to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

In a three-page letter sent on Thursday, Jethmalani said the government’s action in approaching the Supreme Court “with the kind of petition that you have filed” is one of the “most ill-advised steps taken”. Jethmalani's petition had led to the Supreme Court direction in 2011 for the disclosure of the names of black money account holders.

Referring to the NDA government's stand in the court last week that it cannot make public the names of black money account holders in foreign banks due to the confidentiality clause under the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAT) with some countries, he said the DTAT or any equivalent document is not to be used and cannot be used.

The letter, signed by Jethmalani as an “expelled member of BJP”, alleged that Jaitley was exposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the charge of having misguided the nation. The Congress had described the government’s stand as “sheer hypocrisy” as the BJP had made bringing back black money and disclosing names of such account holders as its main poll plank.

Jethmalani said Jaitley was Opposition Leader in the Rajya Sabha when Germany had announced that it was willing to share the names of black money account holders with any friendly country. “No one from the government moved for the obvious reason that in all likelihood, according to me, bigwigs in the ruling party were involved,” he claimed.

“The Germans never spoke of DTAT. Our people deliberately brought it in as a certain method of rendering the entire investigation futile and making our corrupt rulers escape arrest and prosecution,” he said.

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