Finance minister Arun Jaitley told Parliament on Thursday the government would not indulge in “bravado” to hastily reveal names of people with illegal money abroad because this would only help the tax evaders, but a noisy Opposition walked out.
“If I make hasty disclosures without evidence, I can’t get the evidence and the account holders will get the last laugh,” Jaitley said in a detailed reply to Lok Sabha.
The Opposition sought answers on why the NDA government had failed to bring back illegal cash from tax havens abroad within “100 days” of coming to power and called for making the names public.
Jaitley said that while the government and the Opposition members may squabble over the issue, it was important to first have an understand the process of securing information from countries abroad.
Repeating some of the arguments he made in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Jaitley said a clause of “confidentiality” applied to information secured by India regarding account details and those owning such accounts.
“This does not mean information will never come out... We will file cases and in a court, information can become public. If we make it public before that, it is violation of that treaty”, he said, adding, “Indian laws should be in harmony with international jurisprudence.”
He said the government might amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to deal with black money.
Jaitley said a special investigation team had been set up to monitor the government’s steps to recover black money. He said income tax proceedings have been initiated against all the 627 account holders in Switzerland. “I can assure the house that we will get to the last of those who hold such money. We are on right legal path...They (black money holders) will be punished,” Jaitley said.