Germany gave information about 26 accounts held by Indians in LGT Bank, but tax evasion proceedings could be initiated against only 18 resident citizens, the Centre informed the SC on Wednesday.
The Centre handed a sealed report containing the names of eight persons who too allegedly parked money siphoned from India in LGT Bank accounts. They were outside India’s jurisdiction, hence, were not proceeded against, it said. “We are ready to share information with the court,” said solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam .
8 in German list go scot free
G ermany gave information about 26 accounts held by Indians in Leichtenstein’s LGT Bank, but tax evasion proceedings could be initiated against only 18, the Centre has told the SC. No action could be taken against eight as they were outside India’s jurisdiction.
Swiss nod for new tax treaty
T he decks are clear for Switzerland to sign a revised tax treaty with India. The Centre will be able to access the Swiss bank accounts of Indian tax evaders. A Swiss House panel has cleared the double taxation treaty and amendments will be placed before the Swiss Parliament.
Cash stash info can’t be made public: PM
But the bench was displeased at the slow proceedings against 18 Indians who held Rs 43.83 crore in accounts in Leichtenstein’s LGT Bank, details of which were given to New Delhi by Germany last year. The tax department had told the court in August 2009 that a tax demand of Rs 24.26 crore was slapped against the 18 Indians and proceedings had been initiated in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
“Is this all the information you got since the petition was filed in 2009,” the court asked repeatedly, countering Subramaniam, who said the government had either signed or was in the process of entering into double taxation avoidance agreement treaties with several countries. “This agreement is a globally recognized route to get information about account holders in foreign banks. As the agreement has a secrecy clause, it would not be prudent to reveal the names of the account holders at this stage,” Subramaniam said.
“We cannot understand why the government is stylizing money parked abroad as tax evasion. We are talking about pure and simple theft of the national economy, a mind-boggling crime. We are not (talking) about niceties of this treaty or that treaty,” shot back the court. Hours after the court’s observation, PM Manmohan Singh reiterated the government’s stand. “We have some information…for use in the collection of due taxes. We cannot use the information for any other purposes and that information cannot be made public,” he said, citing obligations under international treaties.