BRING BACK ILLEGAL MONEY STASHED ABROAD
The subject of illicit money stashed abroad has been under serious discussion for the past few years particularly after the last general election. In view of the issue being vigorously raised by the opposition parties, particularly BJP, the present head of ruling front also could not remain a silent spectator. It also added the subject in their poll agenda. In fact after the election the ruling party made a promise through the Presidential address on 4.6.2009 in the Parliament. But all these announcements seem to be an empty rhetoric, as nothing has been genuinely initiated. The Supreme Court is also vigorously pursuing the matter, in view of many public interest litigations including the one by Sri. Ram Jethmalani. Wiky Leaks, a popular website is also about to announce such names shortly.
Recently Prime minister and Finance minister have announced that names of Indian deposit holders of such money in foreign countries, can not be made public, in view of the legal hurdles. But such doubtful announcements can not be accepted by the general public, as the quantum of such stashed Money seems to be very huge. Prof. Vaidyanathan, Head of the Dept of Finance and Control at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and a visiting faculty at Manchester Business School says that Indian black money, estimated to the tune of $ 1.4 trillion ( Rs 70 lakh crores) is deposited in such tax havens. Global Financial Integrity (GRI) studies show that an average amount of $ 27. 6 billion is going out every year from India. During 2002-06 a sum of $ 136 billion, was stashed abroad. But the ruling front is only trying to dispute the estimated quantum by saying “ The estimates like the one by BJP task force, which put the amount between USD 500 billion and USD 1400 billion and international estimate of USD 462 billion are based on unverifiable assumptions and approximations”. Without showing any real or keen interest to bring back such stashed money, they say the lame excuses like no legal frame available right now etc., Whether it is USD 462 billon (Rs. 20 lakh crores approximately) or USD 500 billon to USD 1.4 trillions, it is the prime duty of the Central Govt to bring back such stashed money to India, as our poor people need money for their education, drinking water, sanitation and other basic amenities.
The Govt is silent, as many of such possible depositors may be some of the unscrupulous of big politicians, bureaucrats (both retired and in service), big traders and big industrialists. One can easily presume that such silence is forced on the ruling front, in view of the following facts.
1. Germany, which could get the details of such deposit holders, by some means, was and is ready to give such details to any country, as announced even in the year 2009. Nobody knows the steps, taken by the Govt of India, to get back such deposited money, as it announced earlier that Germany had given names of such persons, who have such deposits in LGT Bank of Lichtenstein.
2. When U.S, Germany and many other continental countries could get the details from Swiss Bank called UBS, the largest banking institution in Switzerland, why not India, particularly, when Switzerland has very big investments in our country? The Govt of India should even go to the level of compelling Switzerland either to co-operate or face consequences. When U.S. could make UBS Bank of Switzerland to pay a huge sum USD 780 million as fine for its offenses, why not India?
3. It seems that Pakisthan is behind the act of printing Indian currencies and our country, particularly Kerala, becoming a prime location for converting black money into white money . In fact Prof. Vaidhyanathan said recently that our Finance Ministry revealed that an amount of 150 crore rupees, in counterfeit, was seized from a hi-profile person. No political leader has taken any serious step to know the details and tried to make it public. What is the action initiated by the Central Govt in this regard, as there is every possibility of terrorist money being floated in to our country.
4. Our Prime minister and Finance minister say that there is no legal frame available with us to get the stashed money abroad. What is the difficulty with present laws, including Money Laundering Act 2002 ? What is the difficulty in disclosing the names of such account holders?
5. We are part of Egmont Groups, which is an international body to stimulate co-operation among Financial Intelligent Unit ( FIU) across the Globe. Our F.I.U is competent to meet an important equipment of Financial Action Task Force (FATP) and our membership would facilitate and enhance the exchange of informations with others details. It seems that FIU – INDIA is in possession of huge data of cash transactions including suspicious one. What is the action taken by the Govt in this regard?
Prof. Vaidyanathan says that bringing back the trillions of dollars of Indian money, kept in tax havens like Switzerland is no difficulty. But he doubts whether the Govt has “will” to do it.
He also said that recession experienced countries like U.S initiated steps for the recovery of such stashed money of Americans in various Tax havens. We should not wait till recession touches our door.
Therefore B.M.S demands :-
1. The Central Govt should immediately announce the names of such Indian deposit holders of stashed money, since the people have the right to know the culprits. If such deposits are on benamy names, real beneficiaries should be identified and announced to the public. This is important, as the names furnished by Germany to our Govt were said to be benami holders. It was also learnt that some such stashed money holders, died without even informing their own legal heirs to enjoy the booty.
2. The Central Govt should take immediate steps to bring back such stashed Indian money, within a fixed time frame, even by enacting necessary legal frame.
3. The Central Govt is required to take stringent measures so that no further attempt in future is made by any Indian, to take away such money abroad.