Political reactions were sharp after the government revealed on Monday the names of seven persons and a company facing prosecution for keeping illegal wealth in foreign banks.
The government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court naming Pradip Burman of the Dabur group, Rajkot-based bullion trader Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhya and directors of Goa-based mining company Timblo Private Limited — Radha Satish Timblo, Chetan S Timblo, Rohan S Timblo, Anna C Timblo and Mallika R Timblo. Timblo Private Limited, a firm identified by Association for Democratic Reforms as a donor to both the BJP and the Congress, was also named.
Sambit Patra, a BJP spokesperson, called disclosure of the names "a historic day in the black money case".
"The process of disclosure of names has started," Patra told reporters, referring to a list that allegedly contains hundreds of names.
But opposition Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh accused the BJP of "selective revelation" of names and said the process smacked of "blackmail, not black money".
Several prominent figures of the Congress party, dogged by multi-billion-dollar graft scandals while in power, are reportedly on the list of people with untaxed funds abroad but their names have not been disclosed.
Centre's affidavit discloses seven names to SC, no politician in first list
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said he did not understand why the government had not disclosed all of the names of alleged offenders at once. "I do not see any legal issues in releasing all 700 names. I hope the government will release all the names very soon," he told CNN-IBN news channel.
D Raja, national secretary of Communist Party of India, asked the government to reveal "all the names".
"The government has to answer a lot of questions as there is a reluctance on its part to give out all the names. This shows that the government lacks the political will and determination to fulfil its election promises," said Raja.
Raja demanded finance minister Arun Jaitley follow on his statement that some names in the black money list would embarrass the Congress. "What happened to those names? Why are the names of politicians not being revealed as claimed by the BJP," he asked.
The Dabur group said in a statement that Burman opened his foreign account while a non-resident Indian and "was legally allowed to open this account".
Lodhiya told reporters he was in compliance with all tax laws, adding, "I have no foreign bank account".
Radha Timblo, while speaking to reporters in Panaji, said that she would issue a press statement after going through the government's affidavit.
Swiftly after taking office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up a team of regulators and ex-judges to repatriate illicit funds kept in Swiss and other foreign bank accounts to avoid taxes. There is no firm estimate of the amount of black money at home and abroad, but it is believed to amount to hundreds of billions of dollars.
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(With inputs from AFP, PTI and IANS)