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Government taking steps on whistleblowers’ info on black money: Sinha

Government is taking specific steps to deal with the problem of black money stashed abroad on the basis of information provided by whistleblowers, Rajya Sabha was informed.

“Certain persons, claiming to be whistleblowers, have made offer of assistance in investigation of black money stashed away abroad.

“The government has taken specific steps in this regard. Disclosure of the steps taken, at this stage, would not be in the interest of further investigation,” Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said in a written reply in the Upper House.

In another reply, Sinha said although there is no official estimate of the amount of black money stashed abroad, the government has initiated various steps to deal the problem.

The steps include setting up of a Special Investigation Team and enacting a new law to deal with black money hidden in off-shore accounts.

Sinha also said 669 prosecutions related to evasion of taxes were launched in 2014-15, up from 641 a year ago.

On whether people have been detained for undisclosed income in foreign countries, the minister said there is no provision for detention under the Income-tax Act, 1961.

“However…Prosecution complaints under applicable provisions of the Income-tax Act, 1961 have been filed in appropriate cases,” Sinha added.

The new black money law, he said, has come into force from July 1, 2015 and contains more stringent provisions of penalty and prosecution (rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years) in respect of undisclosed foreign income and assets.

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