Arun Jaitley hints at revealing names

Arun Jaitley  hints at revealing names

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday dropped clear hints that the government could reveal the names of persons having foreign bank accounts if they were found to have violated laws and face prosecution in court of law.

Replying to a short-duration discussion in the Lok Sabha on bringing back black money stashed abroad, Jaitley said 250 of the 457 people having accounts in HSBC Bank, Geneva, were under scrutiny to see if they had violated any law even if they had paid up after receiving tax notices.

He was replying to a specific question raised by Biju Janata Dal member Bhartruhari Mahtab who wanted to know the difficulty the government faced in revealing the names of these 250 people. Jaitley said the names of those who evaded tax initially but paid up when confronted could be made public if the government launched legal proceedings against them.

“The names of those who have evaded tax could be made public if I move court, which is possible,” Jaitley said after the Lok Sabha discussed the issue for more than five hours.
However, he said the government had to tread with caution and ensure that it did not violate international treaties which “explicitly states “that the names of black money holders should be revealed only through public courts.

“If I falter in the process and make a hasty decision, the account holders will have the last laugh and I am not ready for that,” he said amid a walk out by the Congress and Trinamool Congress members who were dissatisfied with the reply.

Jaitley said the National Democratic Alliance government was also considering the Direct Tax Code and the goods and services tax (GST) legislations which would simplify the direct and indirect tax regimes.

“On GST, we have arrived at a broad consensus. The next meeting of the empowered committee (of state finance ministers) will be convened soon and possibly we can introduce the GST Bill in this session. It will be my endeavour to do so,” he said.

Earlier, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharif contended in the Lok Sabha that the finance minister was merely stating procedures and not responding to specific questions posed by the Opposition.
DH News Service

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