No info on Swiss bank accounts, govt to CIC
Amid reports that Wikileaks may have details of Indian account holders in Swiss banks, the Indian government denied having any such information. Or this, atleast, is what it told the transparency watchdog — Central Information Commission — last week.
As per the Swiss Banking Association Report of 2008, India tops the list of countries with deposits in Swiss banks with US $1,891 billion, followed by Russia and China.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit that there was no record of any list of Indians holding secret accounts in Swiss banks.
“No such information has been provided by the Switzerland government or any other body to the MEA,” said the ministry’s Public Information Officer Debraj Pradhan, in an oral submission before the Central Information Commission (CIC).
RTI applicant Pramod Chawla wanted to know whether the Swiss or German governments have provided details of secret accounts held by Indian nationals in Swiss banks and banks in Leichestenstein (a tiny, landlocked country between Switzerland and Austria, widely regarded as a low-tax haven).
The government told the Supreme Court this week that it has received names of some account holders in banks in Leichestenstein but refused to divulge them stating it was bound by an agreement with the government of Germany.
The government added that no such information was available with regard to secret accounts in Swiss banks by Indians and that it was re-negotiating the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with the government of Switzerland to obtain such information. Following the oral submission, Dixit asked Pradhan to submit an affidavit stating that neither the list of the account holders nor any other information about such investigation, sought in the application, is available on record.
At the time the CIC was issuing the order, WikiLeaks got a disc containing the banking details of 2,000 prominent people with Swiss bank accounts, some of whom are also said to be Indians.
The disc was presented to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer. Although Wikileaks is yet to publish details of the disc on its website, some television channels have released names of account holders similar to Indian names.
For the uninitiated, Dhan Mill Compound, a former granary and a cluster of warehouses, has morphed into the city’s modish food, fashion, design and lifestyle destination. Its streets are lined with art cafes, home décor outlets, ateliers, art galleries, pottery studios, dance halls and high-end boutiques, whose facades and interiors are as interesting and experimental as the wares they deal in. Interestingly, all of these fancy establishments are housed in re-purposed warehouse buildings, which still have metal roofs.
According to a Delhi government official, a break-up of the total jobs, including the list of employers and the number of people they hired, will be shared “in a couple of days”. Notably, the government portal was launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 27, 2020, to help entry-level and blue-collar job seekers connect with employers at a time when the Covid-19 induced lockdown left many people unemployed.
“Manufactures, and start-ups which are working on alternatives to single-use plastic have to pay more GST for raw material. Hence, the Delhi government will write to the Centre and request a reduction in GST rates,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said.
Safdarjung, Delhi’s base weather station, recorded 0.1mm of rainfall between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday. The Capital recorded 1.9mm of rainfall on Saturday and 117.2mm on Friday, making the monthly total 119.2mm so far. The normal monthly average for July is 210.6mm, said weather experts.
Monsoon elevates Adam Khan’s tomb into an emergency sanctuary for passersby (and dogs) speared by sudden showers. Perched atop a Mehrauli hillock, the monument overlooks the Qutub Minar, which appears totally bechara and defenceless in the heavy rain.