Many NGOs and whistleblowers have complained to authorities that Indian money worth several thousands crore was illegally routed to many tax havens and urged government to take strict measures to put a bar on it. Finance Ministry admits it has “no authentic figures” about the quantum of black money deposited in Swiss banks. It is stated that efforts have been made from time to time to seek details of the bank accounts held by Indians in Swiss Confederation under the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Switzerland .
“Certain references have been received on this issue on which appropriate action is being taken. However, as furnishing of information at this stage may impede the process of investigation in the matter, the information sought is exempt from disclosure under the provisions of Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act 2005,” the Ministry said.
The applicant had asked the Ministry of Finance to give information on the names of individuals/companies who have deposited black money in Swiss banks along with the steps taken by the government to check it.
“However, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration has expressed its inability to exchange the information regarding bank deposits of Indian citizens as the information was not necessary for the application of the DTAA between India and Swiss Confederation but was required only for the enforcement of India internal laws,” the RTI reply said.
“They (Swiss Authorities) also replied that such information was not at their disposal under Swiss Laws in the normal course of tax administration,” it added.
The Supreme Court hearing a petition yesterday slammed the government for its inefficiency in dealing with the case and focusing its probe only on Hasan Ali , owner of Pune-based stud farm, accused of money laundering and largescale tax evasion.