Bharatiya Janata Party would make public the names of 800 Indian account holders in Swiss Banks if it comes into power in the 2014 general elections, senior party leader Yashwant Sinha has said.
"Of course, we will do. Of course, we will do," Sinha told a small audience at an event organised by a recently formed Washington-based Indian American think-tank Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS).
"Will you disclose (the list of 800 people) after coming to power?" Sinha was asked by a member from the audience as he was hitting hard at the UPA government for not disclosing these names some two years after the HSBC Bank submitted it to them, saying it lacks the necessary will power to do so.
"You are aware of that famous case when HSBC disclosed the names of 800 Indian account holders in Swiss Bank and these names have been with the Government of India for the last two years. They say that the double taxation avoidance agreement prevents them from disclosing this," Sinha said.
This is hardly a taxation issue, he said, adding the BJP will like to punish them for breaking India's rules and laws.
"The question is why you haven't been able to prosecute them in two years. Disclose 10 names, 20 names, but how does all these 800 names remain a secret for two years. That is where there is some mystery. We do not know what that is. We have to come into power (to know about it)," he said.
Sinha is currently on a three-day visit to Washington to hold meetings with the think-tank, members of the Indian Diaspora, Congressmen and officials of the Obama Administration.
"I am here representing BJP and India," he said at the event where he accused the Union Government of not taking necessary measures to bring back the black money stacked abroad to the country.
"Whatever Indian money is lying abroad, that has to be pelleted out. I entirely agree with you, if you are strict with all these tax havens -- Caymen Island, Mauritius, St Kitts – what is the status of these small little countries. India can deal with them from a position of strength and tell them this far and no further. Or we redo international transparency laws," he said, adding G-20 is working on it.
"So we need to deal with these countries firmly and they will respond. Switzerland is responding to India. The point is do we have the will," he asked.
Responding to questions from the audience, Sinha defended BJP’s stand against foreign direct investment in multi-retail sector, which would allow Wal-Mart to Indian market.
Situation is not conducive to allow this, he said, apprehending that such a move would benefit goods made in China. The issue, he noted, could be reviewed a few later.
A court is allowing two Italian marines to post bail while they await trial over fatally shooting two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates.
Kerala state Home Minister T. Radhakrishnan said Wednesday the court also ordered the Italians to present two Indians each to be guarantors to ensure their presence during the trial. Bail for the men was set at 10 million rupees (US$180,000) each.
The two marines were providing anti-piracy security aboard a cargo ship when they killed the fishermen three months ago.
New Delhi says the men should be tried in India because the killings happened on an Indian boat. Rome says the shootings took place in international waters and the case should be handled in Italy.