India expects to receive data from Swiss authorities on HSBC accounts of its citizens in about 10 days after Switzerland's apex court directions that data be shared with the Indian government, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said today. Serious efforts are on to check black money. Though there are no official estimates of such money stashed in foreign countries, a tax demand of Rs 5,447 crore has been made in HSBC undisclosed income of Rs 8,448 crore, Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour.
"The Supreme Court of Switzerland has ordered the Swiss government to share with us that data in about a week or ten days... We are going to get that," the Finance Minister said replying to a supplementary on a question on black money deposited in foreign banks. He said the HSBC list was released somewhere in the year 2010-11 and from 2011-12 to 2014 the government kept trying to make efforts but was stalled by the Swiss government from getting any information on the ground that this is secret information as the source is a stolen source which is illegal.
"It is only after this government came in that we sent our Revenue Secretary to Switzerland. We had high-level discussions with the government of Switzerland and a joint statement was issued on October 15, 2015 by which both sides agreed that they will share information with each other and since then we have started getting information on HSBC accounts," the minister said. He said now the same process has been initiated with other countries and automatic sharing of information pacts are with several countries.
On the HSBC list, the minister said that undisclosed income of Rs 8,448 crore was detected with a tax demand of Rs 5,447 crore. Penalty of Rs 1,290 crore has been levied in 164 cases. So far 199 prosecutions complaints have been filed in 84 cases. With regards to Panama papers, the minister said, it contained details of 426 persons and investigations are going on in all cases.
"So far 62 invasive actions have been conducted which included seizure action in 50 cases and survey action in 12 cases," the minister said. Similar prosecution complaint cases have been filed in 16 cases and in 33 cases notices under section 10 of the Black Money Act, brought by the Modi government, have been issued, he added.
"As an outcome of these investigations, so far undisclosed foreign investment to the tune of Rs 1,532.88 crore has been detected. I have paradise papers also," Goyal said and added there is no verifiable data on black money.
In reply to another query Goyal said as part of the drive to crackdown on black money and corruption, the government had to strike off more than 2 lakh shell companies from the companies' register. Of these only 5,000 companies came back which proves the robust mechanism and 98 per cent accuracy in the case of shell companies, he said.
"Process is on for another 2 lakh shell companies and notices have been served on 80,000," he said adding that based on the reply a drive to clean the system will be undertaken bringing them in Income tax trail. Claiming that it is the present government which launched a crusade against black money, Goyal said the government in its first Cabinet meeting appointed an SIT on black money headed by two eminent judges including Justice MB Shah.
"The SIT has been tasked with the work to detect where the black money is, quantum of black money and what are steps needed to recover the black money. The important point is, it is only under this government that actually people have started increasingly filing their returns," the minister said. He said the number of tax filers have increased by over 50 per cent in the last four years, while the quantum of income tax collected has increased by about 75 per cent during the period and leakages that were happening in the previous government were stopped. Quoting a former prime minister without naming him, Goyal said the PM said that for every rupee "which I have to give to a poor man I have to send seven times that amount. When I send Rs 100, Rs 15 reaches the poor. This government has given almost four lakh crore to the poor people in their bank accounts."
In reply to another supplementary, the minister said the crusade against black money has paid off and FDI has shown galloping trends with India's improved image and added that global agencies like Moody's have upgraded India's ratings.