Swiss account row: Amarinder rebuts charge, Akalis ask him to quit

Chandigarh, Nov 25 (IANS) Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Wednesday rubbished the issue of Swiss bank notice to his wife and son and attacked the Narendra Modi government for “seeking selective information” even as Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal demanded he quit politics for allegedly amassing undisclosed wealth abroad.

Swiss bank authorities have asked Amarinder’s wife and former union minister Preneet Kaur and son, Raninder Singh, to exercise their “right to be heard” before sharing information on bank accounts in Switzerland which has been sought by Indian tax authorities.

Amarinder Singh, the Congress’ deputy leader in Lok Sabha and former Punjab chief minister, in a statement, questioned the timing and the motive of the central government in “seeking selective information from the Swiss authorities about the purported account details” of his wife and son.

“Despite my wife and son having already furnished all the details and answers, to all questions raised by the Income Tax department of the Government of India, from time to time, the Government of India with an obvious questionable motive wanted to highlight this particular case,” he said in a release issued here.

“The matter of ‘foreign bank accounts’ is pending before Income Tax Authorities since 2011 where it has been clearly stated that neither my wife, nor my son or me have any foreign bank account,” he clarified, while pointing out, that the Swiss authorities in their notification have nowhere stated that Preneet Kaur and Raninder Singh have Swiss bank account(s).

“This notification is a matter of procedure to be followed in respect of individuals whose names are sent by Indian government enquiring about accounts,” he noted, terming it a “desperate attempt” of the central government and the Bharatiya Janata Party to malign his image before 2017 Punjab assembly polls.

This was done to clearly help its beleaguered partner, Akali Dal, in Punjab, he alleged.

Akali Dal leaders demanded he quit politics and face the law.

“Congress leader Amarinder Singh to quit politics and face the law of the land as an ordinary criminal for misusing politics as a shield for amassing corrupt wealth and siphoning off billions of dollars through fraudulent accounts in Swiss banks,” senior Akali leaders Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said in a statement here.

“A person and family facing such grave allegations of personal dishonesty have no right to be in public life,” the Akali Dal leaders said.

The Federal Tax Administration (FTA) of Switzerland has given 10 days time to Preneet Kaur to file an appeal for exercise of the right to be heard. She had earlier denied having any account in her name with any foreign bank.

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