New Delhi: India has again written to the Swiss government asking it to provide bank details and names of Indians with unaccounted money in its banks. The special investigation team on black money has, meanwhile, sought details of all major tax evasion cases and criminal financial fraud probed by different agencies.
The finance ministry has written to the Swiss authorities after news agency reports said it was ready to cooperate with India and share details about persons and entities suspected to have untaxed assets.
“We have written to the Swiss authorities seeking details in this regard. Finance minister Arun Jaitely had promised that such a step will be taken,” a senior finance ministry official said. The SIT formed on black money has also asked the 11 departments on its panel to furnish details of cases and status of probes on black money.
The SIT, headed by retired Supreme Court judge M.B. Shah, also asked the agencies to give details of problems faced by investigators in taking cases forward for prosecution or penalty. The details have been sought as SIT wants to know the trends and magnitude of black money and generation of illegal funds in the country.
Recently, RBI had asked all banks and financial institutions to provide the information and documents sought by the SIT. The SIT has been formed upon the directions of Supreme Court and it had its first meeting earlier this month.
It has also been empowered “to further investigate even where charge-sheets have been previously filed and SIT may register further cases and conduct appropriate investigations and initiate proceedings for the purpose of bringing back unaccounted monies unlawfully kept in bank accounts abroad.”
The SIT will keep Supreme Court informed about all major developments by filing periodic status reports in this regard. A spokesperson for Switzerland’s Secretariat for International Financial Matters said that the Swiss authorities are in touch with India and “Switzerland looks forward to working together with the new government of the Republic of India in its fight against tax evasion.”
The Swiss government has been reluctant to share details about the Indians named in a so-called ‘HSBC list’, which was reportedly stolen by a bank employee and later found its way to tax authorities in various countries including India.
Despite repeated requests from India, including through at least four letters written by former finance minister P. Chidambaram, Switzerland has maintained that its local laws prohibit administrative assistance in matters where information has been sourced illegally, including through stolen lists....