New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The ruling NDA government has been the most active among Indian governments earlier in proceeding against persons with unaccounted income stashed away in foreign bank accounts, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.
“No other government has been as active as the current one in the matter of foreign accounts,” Jaitley asserted in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill.
“Every account in the Panama Papers has been investigated. Whether it is Liechtenstein, HSBC… in each case, the government is in touch with the authorities of these countries,” he said, referring to cases arising out of the Panama Papers disclosures and of accounts reported from the Geneva branch in Switzerland of HSBC Bank and from Liechtenstein.
“Prosecutions have been filed… assessments are being done,” Jaitley said on action taken by the Income Tax department on such cases, adding that there is no prohibition on disclosing the names in cases where legal proceedings have been started.
Jaitley told the Lok Sabha earlier this month that money in foreign countries was reported from four sources, including HSBC, International Consortium of Journalists and Panama Papers.
“In cases of which we are receiving details, we send notices, assess their income tax details and raise tax demand. According to the law, criminal proceedings are also carried out. In HSBC and now in Panama Papers, the proceedings will be carried out,” he said.
The Income Tax department has filed over 100 cases of prosecution against those entities whose names have appeared in an HSBC Geneva bank list.
This move followed India’s Supreme Court in 2015 giving a list of 628 entities in the HSBC Geneva branch, that was furnished to it in a sealed envelope by the central government, to the Special Investigation Team constituted by the court.
India has enacted the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, to deal with the menace of black money stashed abroad.