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‘Understand basics’: Arun Jaitley on rise in deposits by Indians in Swiss banks

In a blog post on Facebook, Union minister Arun Jaitley said any illegal depositor will be subjected to the harsh penal provisions of the black money law in India.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2018 13:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Arun Jaitley,Facebook,Black money in Swiss banks
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley (PTI File Photo)

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said it would be wrong to assume that all money deposited in the Swiss Banks is illegal, adding that those who make public statement over the issue “must understand basic facts”.

“Those who participate in a public discourse must understand these basic facts before expressing an opinion which may be ill-informed. To assume that all the deposits are per se tax evaded money or that Switzerland in the matter of illegal deposits is what it was decades ago, is to start on a shaky presumption,” Mr Jaitley said in a Facebook post.

The Union minister’s response came just hours after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi hit out at the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing them of changing their stand on issue of black money.

According to the official annual data released by Swiss National Bank (SNB) on Thursday, money parked by Indians in Swiss banks rose over 50% to CHF 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017, reversing a three-year downward trend amid India’s clampdown on suspected black money stashed there.

“Past investigations by CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxation) have shown that this includes funds held by persons of Indian origin who now hold foreign passport and monies belonging to Non-Resident Indians. There were also monies belonging to resident Indians who have made legitimate investments abroad, including transfer of money under the liberalised remittance scheme,” Jaitley said.

“It is only monies kept by resident Indian outside these categories which become actionable,” he said.

The Union minister also stressed that Swiss Banks are “no longer an ideal destination for tax evaders” because the Alpine nation has taken significant efforts to get out of the image of being a tax haven.

“Any illegal depositor knows that it is a matter of months before his name becomes public and he will be subjected to the harsh penal provisions of the Black money law in India.”

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 18:48 IST