Friday, January 21, 2011

swiss bank

21 Jan 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Bhartiya Janata Party Vice-President Shanta Kumar, a former Himachal chief minister, on Friday accused the Prime Minister of misleading the nation on the Swiss bank accounts, asserting that the Swiss government considers money in these accounts as "stolen property" and wants to return it.

India has to just ratify the UN convention against corruption under Article 51 an 52 adopted in 2003 and claim the money but it is sitting over the ratification since after signing it in 2005, Shanta Kumar said in a statement.

"No member country can cooperate on the matter of illicit money flow without ratifying the convention," he underlined while wondering if the government is giving time to the culprits to withdraw money from their foreign banks by delaying action in "the worst-ever biggest loot committed by the pseudo elites of our country." He quoted a report of Global Financial Integrity that Rs 2000 lakh crores had been flown illegally from India since 1947.

He debunked Dr Manmohan Singh for taking the cover of the double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAA) requiring confidentiality as if the black money were just an issue of tax evasion, while it is the money earned through unfair and illegal means, including corruption, that is a criminal offence and should be dealt as a crime.

The BJP leader dubbed the government's reluctance to recover the black money stashed away in banks in Switzerland and other tax heaven countries as "unfortunate and disgusting," particularly when the Swiss government has conveyed to Delhi that it wants to return the illicit money in its banks to the concerned countries and India is one of them. Time is essence as any delay in recovery of the black money stashed abroad will enable the culprits to withdraw it from the banks, he said.

Shanta Kumar described in this regard his discussion with Swiss representative Mithias Bachman during participation in the UN General Assembly discussion in October on corruption and flow of illicit money. Bachman told him the Swiss government's commitment to return the black money to the originating countries as it treats it as "stolen property" and that it has already started returning money to the countries fulfilling the required conditions of the UN convention.

Besides enacting a law to return the black money to originating countries, Switzerland also ratified the UN convention against corruption also and so return of illicit money depends upon the political will of the concerned country, Bachman told Shanta Kumar.

The BJP vice-president pointed out that the whole world was  concerned with the malice  of corruption and as such the UN passed the convention in 2003 after long discussions that provides for return of the stashed away money to the originating countries.

Pointing out that this convention against corruption is an important international legal tool to recover money from foreign banks, he said the Indian government is handicapped to take any action under it until it is ratified. He said it was this handicap in the government failing to get the Swiss bank account details of Pune stud farm owner Hassan Ali Khan despite the Income Tax Department unearthing Rs 1 lakh crores deposited by him in the Swiss banks.


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