‘Set up special team to probe unaccounted bank funds abroad’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Set up special team to probe unaccounted bank funds abroad’

mumbai Updated: Apr 16, 2010 01:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
special team

“The Indian government has names of those having unaccounted money in Switzerland banks but is not disclosing them,” said former Union law minister and veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

Demanding that the government form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Swiss bank accounts of Indians, he claimed that some account holders are from the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Jethmalani said Germany had got access to the list of account holders from various countries, including India, in Swiss banks and it gave details to the Central government.

“The Central government admitted in an affidavit filed in Supreme Court [in 2009] that it has got names from German authorities,” said Jethmalani.

The government also mentioned in the affidavit that it could make the names public because it had pledged confidentiality to German authorities.

But Jethmalani claims no such promise was made.

In 2009, the former union minister had filed a petition in Supreme Court seeking vital documents from the Central government on unaccounted money stashed in foreign banks.

Jethmalani said Indians have stashed away around $1,500 billion (approximately Rs 70 lakh crore) of unaccounted money in foreign banks, including more than Rs 35,000 crore allegedly kept in Swiss bank accounts by Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan.

“It is obvious that his [Khan’s] ostensible means of existence would not justify these assets,” said Jethmalani, hinting that the money belongs to other people and Khan is only the manager.

He said in 2007 an income tax official had written to Swiss authorities seeking details of Khan’s bank accounts.

“The Swiss authorities wrote back saying that the information would be given if the investigation was done under the money laundering charges,” Jethmalani said. “All the government had to do was to write that it is investigating the money laundering. But it did not do so.”

Jethmalani also spoke on the controversial CD footage of Khan telling his interrogator that he was present in a meeting in 2008 where politicians including then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, home minister R.R. Patil and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel were deciding on Mumbai’s police commissioner.

“I do not care who participated, but what worries me is the presence of Patel,” said Jethmalani. “What legitimate reason can be for his [Patel] mixing with Khan?”