As the Narendra Modi government revealed names of three black money account holders on Monday, two of them defended themselves. While Dabur denied any wrongdoing by its former executive director Pradip Burman, promoter of the Rajkot-based Shreeji Trading Company Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya said he was shocked to see his name on the list.
“We wish to state that this account was opened when he was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account. We have followed all the laws and the complete details regarding the account have been voluntarily, and as per law, filed with the Income Tax Department, and appropriate taxes paid, wherever applicable. Therefore, it is unfortunate that every person having a foreign bank account is being painted with the same brush,” Dabur said in a statement defending Pradip Burman.
“I am shocked that the government named me,” said Lodhiya in his statement. “I don’t have a Swiss account. I am getting to know about the proceedings against me from the media. I will reply to the Supreme Court accordingly,” he said.
These reactions came after the central government on Monday revealed the names of three people who have black money stashed abroad in its affidavit to the Supreme Court. Burman, Chimanlal Lodhiya and Radha S Timbola, a Goa based miner feature in the Centre’s much awaited list of black money account holders.
Former union minister Salman Khurshid of the Congress said, “Whatever names they have given, if they feel it’s right then let them go ahead. We have no issues about the government releasing names. But selective naming should not be done.”
Arvind Kejriwal, the chief of the Aam Aadmi Party, said he had revealed the same names two years ago but the government was deliberately shielding powerful people on the black money list.
“We want the government to say whether all the names that we disclosed earlier are in the list or not. The list of all foreign account holders should be revealed and there should be uniform action against the guilty,“ Mr. Kejriwal said.
In its charter of demands to the NDA government, the Aam Aadmi Party asked the Centre to immediately disclose the names of all account holders, complete investigations in all cases in a time bound manner and take strictest action against all guilty.
It also demanded that the government immediately stop hawala routes and initiate prosecution against banks involved in soliciting illicit money and transferring it abroad through hawala.
The Left questioned why no politicians’ names had been revealed in court. “Where are the names that will embarrass the Congress party?” asked CPI leader D Raja.
A petitioner in the apex court on the issue of black money, Jethmalani said he was tremendously disappointed and distressed by the development and dubbed it as a case of mountain in labour producing a mouse.
“It is a case of mountain in labour producing a mouse…I have great hopes that SC will rise to the occasion and do the needful, Jethmalani said, adding that he regretted that this ‘mouse’ has been produced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Jethmalani also questioned the need for government to probe the matter when it is already being looked in to by a special investigation team appointed by the apex court.
Earlier, Jethmalani had said that the Centre should take no step in the black money case without obtaining the consent of the SIT. He suggested that the Centre was using the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement as an excuse to avoid revealing the names of those Indians who have black money stashed away in banks abroad.