New Delhi(PTI): One of the trump cards used by the BJP during the run-up to Lok Sabha elections–black money continues to haunt the government in Parliament. The opposition parties rejected Finance minster Arun Jaitley’s plea not to insist on disclosing the names of account holders, as it will hamper investigations. Entire opposition in Rajya Sabha walked out, accusing the government on failing in repatriation of the Indians’ money stashed abroad in 100 days.
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Jaitley in his reply out of 627 accounts, they got hold from the HSBC Bank, so far 427 have been identified and assessment proceedings against them have begun. He said out of them 250 have admitted having foreign accounts, making jobs of investigators easier. He, however, said it was not a question of whether to disclose the names of those who hold black money accounts, but when to do so. He asserted that the government will not take a populist and adventurist route for a one-day thrill that helps the foreign account holders as then no country will cooperate to help provide evidence against them. The Lok Sabha too debated the same issue simultaneously but the debate remained inconclusively.
Finance minister said the procedure to nab each and every guilty person will take time and government will follow the foolproof procedure. He said India is following the practice the world over to disclose the names of the culprits only at the stage of filing the charge sheet. On CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury’s suggestion to put names of all account-holders received from France on the net, Jaitley said it would only help the culprits. “The issue, therefore, is not whether to disclose the names but when and how to disclose them,” he said.
Pointing out that the countries are joining the United States in the new global arrangement on automatic exchange of information on all commercial transactions, he said this would be the next step in the global black money probe and the choice before India is to either join this international machinery or take a lonely path. India can ill-afford to keep away from the new global order as otherwise 30 per cent of all transactions will be held back by the countries, making all businesses from India uneconomical. “India would rather become a prominent part of the mainstream than take a lonely path,” he said. He also charged the UPA government, who sat on the Supreme Court’s directive of July 4, 2011 to set up a Special Investigation Team, reminding that the NDA government in its first cabinet meeting appointed the SIT under a retired supreme court judge.