Govt discloses 8 names in black money probe

Govt discloses 8 names in black money probe

Dabur's Burman, Goa miner Timblo, trader Lodhiya figure on list

Govt discloses 8 names in black money probe

The Centre on Monday revealed in the Supreme Court eight names, including that of a mining company, in connection with the stashing away of unaccounted money in offshore institutions.

The government also said it had no intention of withholding information related to black money.

Dabur India group’s once whole-time director Pradip Burman, Goa-based miner Radha Satish Timblo and Rajkot-based bullion trader Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya are among the names disclosed in the government’s affidavit.

Timblo Private Ltd (TPL) and its other directors Chetan S Timblo, Rohan S Timblo and Anna C Timblo and Mallika R Timblo were also alleged to have parked money offshore.

Burman’s name was received by the government from French authorities. Others kept their black money in “other countries”.

TPL was also indicted by the Justice M B Shah Commission in 2012 as well as SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee, which probed illegal mining in Goa.

The Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance, which made black money its main poll plank, faced criticism over the government’s application in the Supreme Court on October 17 stating it could not make public the names of all account holders in foreign banks due to confidentiality clause.

“Every account held by an Indian in a foreign country may not be illegal. The names cannot be disclosed unless there is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing,” the government said justifying its stand.

“The intention of the present government is clear and unambiguous. It is keen to unearth black money held abroad and, for that purpose, it will use all diplomatic and legal means and also all investigating agencies to obtain information that can assist in such unearthing,” the affidavit filed by the Finance Ministry stated.

The prosecution was already started in as many as 17 cases for tax evasion after the United Progressive Alliance government received names of 26 individuals from German authorities in March 2009 for having accounts in LGT Bank of Liechtenstein.

However, the Centre’s disclosure of only eight names on Monday came as a disappointment to noted lawyer and petitioner Ram Jethmalani who said the revelation “is  a damp squib.” The Congress described it as “selective revelation of account holders' names”.

Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan slammed the government for not coming out with full list. They said the Supreme Court verdict of July 4, 2011 , stated that there would be no violation of double tax avoidance agreements in disclosing the names of black money account holders in foreign banks.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who earlier declared that the Congress would be embarrassed by the disclosure of names, said the government would reveal only those names against whom there was prosecutable evidence.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and former minister Preneet Kaur said she received a notice from Income Tax authorities in 2011 for having a foreign bank account and she had responded to it.

Notably, Timblo Pvt Ltd, the accused company, donated Rs 1.18 crore to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in nine instalments and Rs 65 lakh in three instalments to the Congress in seven years, according to two private election watchdogs.

The donations were made between 2004-05 and 2011-12, the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch said. the Rajkot-based bullion trader Lodhiya had donated Rs 51,000 to the BJP.

In its affidavit, the government, however, reiterated that the details received from other countries under the tax treaties could be used only for that purpose. As and when investigations were completed, a complaint would be filed in the competent court, making the information public.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox