Black money: Arun Jaitley says recent delegation to Switzerland came back with positive movement

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Nov 22: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the government was having a relook at some of the bilateral tax treaties signed with foreign countries that may be hindering the repatriation of the black money stashed abroad.

Confronting the daunting task to get back black money stashed abroad, the finance minister said: “Of course, we are.” He responded when asked whether the government would have a relook at the bilateral treaties through which the government was not easily getting information about black money hoarders abroad.

Jaitley reportedly said that he had sent a delegation recently to Switzerland and they have come back with some positive movement.

Referring to the discussions with Swiss government, the finance minister said: “We have to furnish evidence independent of the HSBC list. I can’t go to them (foreign countries) and they say the HSBC list is stolen, I won’t cooperate.”

“So I won’t go to you on the basis of stolen list. But if I present to you some independent evidence about names which happen to come on the stolen list, then will you provide me the evidence?,” he reportedly said.

To a question whether India would be signing such a treaty, he said, “our application is precisely that. The Supreme Court, the earlier judgment, needs a clarification. So the special investigation team (SIT) is looking into it.”

When remined of the BJP’s promise made during elections to get black money back, Jaitley said there is a settled procedure and government has to go by that settled process.

“The world today is uniting to unearth these unauthorised transactions. Conventionally they were against crime money and not tax evaded money,” he said.

Jaitley further said: “Today even tax evaded money, which flies from one part of the world to another, there is exchange of information. And then if you are able to prove that it’s contrary to law they give you the supporting evidence. You have to go through that procedure. There is no other short cut.”

Avoiding a question about the possibility of an amnesty scheme to unearth black money, both within and outside the country, he said: “Every institution in this matter has to realise its responsibilities.”

Reacting to the Congress criticism of relaunching of the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) that narco terrorism money can be laundered, Jaitley dismissing such fears said there are adequate safeguards built in it.

He said: “In the notification we have said that the moment you buy those patras you have to give name and address. So the KYC norms are there and if you are buying more than Rs 50,000 then you have to give your PAN card.”

“So the argument is narcotic dealers and narco terrorism and all those people will buy. But then they have to give their PAN cards and we will arrest all of them. You can’t have a debate on ill-informed or semi-informed facts,” the FM added.

(With Agency Inputs)

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