Former Infosys director T V Mohandas Pai on Wednesday said the Centre’s strategy to unearth black money was a “joke” as the government didn’t have a policy, legal and intelligence muscle required to book the offenders and put them in jail without delay.
Calling it a “big failure” of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, the former chief financial officer of the Bengaluru-headquartered information technology major said better intelligence and prosecution were needed to achieve the objective as the current law was “unworkable”.
“The whole black money strategy has been a joke. The law (to unearth black money) is badly drafted and it is unworkable. Nobody will pay 60 per cent tax to stay in this country. And secondly, your black money action should be based on better policy and better intelligence,” Mr Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education Services, told PTI in an interview.
“It (the government) does not have super intelligence yet. It does not have superior prosecution capabilities, and unless they get better intelligence, they are able to prosecute better, they set up fast track courts, things are not going to work,” he said, adding, “It (not having an effective strategy to unearth black money) has been a big failure of the government.”
“Black money is not waiting in foreign banks for you to go and get information and do. There are sophisticated structures; government should find out what these structures are, who is doing it and how it’s being done,” added Mr. Pai, who was a member of the Kelkar committee on reforming direct taxes.
The government should have special prosecution powers, he said, adding, “There is a lot of corruption in the ports. They must set up special investigation teams, appoint special prosecutors, build up capacity, add special courts, try them (offenders) and put them in jail within six months…not five years or ten years. If you don’t do that, nothing will work.”
Tax terrorism has not come to an end in the country even though Finance Minister Arun Jaitley continues to say that it’s stopping, Mr. Pai alleged.
“It (tax terrorism) is still continuing at the grass-roots level. (Tax) disputes have gone up to unprecedented levels. They (the government) have to clean up the whole system; and that (tax terrorism) is stopping investments,” he said.
Speaking on areas where the government has not “done well” during 18 months in office, he said it should work very closely with States because it’s where the action is; not at the Centre.
“The Centre passes a policy and the States have to implement it…many of the States have become laggards,” he said.
As for his view on reservation in private sector, Mr Pai said there should not be reservation anywhere and it should be on merit. “There is nothing wrong if socially disadvantaged sections…if they get good education…they will do very well. We have tried to experiment in Bengaluru five-six years ago, it worked beautifully.”