An estimated $500 billion (approximately Rs 24.5 lakh crore) of illegal money belonging to Indians is deposited in tax havens abroad, according to CBI director Amar Pratap Singh.
Singh made this revelation while inaugurating the Interpol's first global programme on Anti Corruption and Assets Recovery at the agency headquarters on Monday. Meanwhile, an agency source told HT the CBI's probe into the 2G spectrum scam has established that around $52 million dollars (approximately R260 crore) worth illegal proceeds from it has been stashed away in global tax havens by accused persons and firms.
Singh added that Indians constituted the largest depositors in Swiss banks. "In some of the recent important cases being investigated by CBI…we find that money is taken to Dubai, Singapore, Mauritius from where it goes to British Virgin Islands, Cayman islands and other such tax havens."
"We need to relentlessly pursue asset recovery strategies to make such illegal acquisitions a no-profit high-risk proposition."
Singh pointed out that 53% of countries said to be least corrupt by the Transparency International Index were in effect offshore tax havens, and spoke of the "lack of political will" of these countries to part with information required to trace such assets. He added, "..they are aware of the extent to which their economies have become geared to this flow of illegal capitals from the poorer countries."
The CBI Director also hinted at the need for "ethics in governance". He said, "I am prompted to recall a famous verse from the ancient Indian scriptures which says 'yatha raja tatha praja', in other words if the king is immoral so would be his subjects."