250 admitted to having foreign accounts: Govt

NEW DELHI: Nov 26, 2014, DHNS:

250 admitted to having foreign accounts: Govt

The government on Wednesday said 250 people and entities have admitted to having accounts abroad after authorities launched a probe to identify 627 HSBC account holders.

Replying to a short notice discussion in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley referred to the HSBC list and said the identity of 427 account holders were established after an inquiry. “Of that 427, at least 250 have admitted to having accounts abroad,” he said.

He assured the House that the government is “extremely pro-active” in chasing black money account holders. He said the procedure will take time but “we will have foolproof procedure”.

Jaitley also noted that the government is in the process of their assessment and notices are being sent to them.

Under heavy fire from the Opposition, he said the Centre would not take the “suicidal course” of disclosing names of illegal account holders abroad without evidence.

“We have to make the disclosures wisely. If we are going to be unduly populist and adventurist, like someone suggesting to put all the names on internet, we are only going to help the account holders. The issue is not whether to disclose the names or not. The question is when to disclose it,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley’s spirited defence came as a combined Opposition pounded the government over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad within 100 days of coming to power.

The opposition benches were not satisfied with his response, prompting the Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPM and the CPI to stage a walk out. Interestingly, the BSP did not join the other parties and its chief Mayawati sat through though she was critical of the government actions.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Congress Mallikarjun Kharge said Modi had “played” with people's emotions during election campaign saying that every person will get Rs 15 lakh once illegal money stashed away in banks abroad is brought back.

Referring to Modi’s promise becoming a common thread for opposition, the Finance Minister said they can have the “thrill or pleasure” as the government could not bring back blackmoney in 100 days but the NDA government has done much more in that time what others could not do.

“You may talk about 100 days or 200 days. You are suggesting a suicidal course, which I am not going to take. We are on the right track even if it takes extra time,” he said.

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