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Narendra Modi govt makes U-turn on black money

In an application the Centre the govt contended that it cannot disclose all information as countries with which India has DTAAs have objected to making them public.

Mail Today Bureau | October 18, 2014 | Updated 10:44 IST
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media at his residence in New Delhi on Friday.

The Narendra Modi government virtually toed the line of erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the issue of bringing back black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks on Friday by telling the Supreme Court (SC) that it cannot disclose such details given by countries with which India has Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party had promised to bring back black money kept by Indians in overseas banks and slammed the UPA government for not taking effective action and accusing it of shielding the corrupt. However, in an application the Centre contended that it cannot disclose all information as countries with which India has DTAAs have objected to making them public. The government said that foreign countries may not give further information.

Appearing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said that Germany has objected to making public names of the Indian account holders in LGT Bank, Liechtenstein. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, on whose plea the apex court had constituted the special investigating team on black money, strongly objected to the Centre's stand.

Interestingly, SC, which posted the case for October 28, had earlier rejected the same stand taken by the UPA government observing that such DTAAs do not prevent the Centre from disclosing names of the persons having bank accounts in foreign banks.

JAITLEY BLAMES DTAA SIGNED IN 1995

>> Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley blamed the agreement entered into by the Congress government with Germany in 1995 as a constraining factor in disclosing details of black money

>> He rejected the charge that the Modi government is reluctant to part with information about names of persons having black money abroad

>> Jaitley added that as per the DTAA, names can only be made public once after investigation, there are disclosures made to court, that is when charges are filed

>> Till such time when investigations are on, merely for reasons of propaganda names can't be made public, he said

'NDA GOVT RESPONSE SHEER HYPOCRISY'

The Congress slammed the NDA government on Friday after the government told the Supreme Court that not all information on black money received from foreign nations can be made public.

Citing four tweets posted by Narendra Modi before the Lok Sabha polls on the black money issue in which he had slammed the UPA government, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi wondered if there is only sheer hypocrisy in public life. He read out tweets by Modi in he had attacked UPA's lack of commitment towards bringing back black money.

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