If politicians and businessmen don’t have any overseas account then from where did they acquire this ill-gotten wealth?
The list of number of persons holding black money in Swiss Banks unveiled by a leading newspaper is almost double those obtained by the government. The names of former Chief Minister Narayan Rane his wife Neelam Narayan Rane, son Nilesh Rane along with late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s daughter-in-law Smita Thackeray also figure in the list. The government will probe the new cases and disclosed that it is in touch with a whistle blower to get the names of all the undisclosed Indian accounts in HSBC’s Switzerland branch and other destinations.
The names of former UPA minister Preneet Kaur, former Congress MP Annu Tandon and as well as family members of the late Congress minister Vasant Sathe also appear in the list. Most of them have denied having accounts with Swiss banks.
The government will also seek proof of those account holders whose names feature in the list. “Some new names have been revealed whose veracity would be checked by authorities,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
When journalists tried to ask Smitha Thackeray about the black money issue she refused to comment about it. She nonetheless had posed for photographs on the occasion of her son Rahul Thackeray’s wedding.
Among the several business men are top guns like Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Anand Chand Burman, Rajan Nanda, Yashovardhan Birla, Chandru Lachhmandas Raheja, Dattaraj Salgaocar, Bhadrashyam Kothari and Shravan Gupta.
Diamond traders who are part of this list include Rusell Mehta, Anoop Mehta, Saunak Parikh, Chetan Mehta, Govindbhai Kakadia and Kunal Shah.
The news daily partnered with Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Paris-based Le Monde newspaper to investigate the Swiss accounts and revealed what it calls Swiss Leaks, a trove of secret documents from HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm that reveals names of account holders and their balances for the year 2006-07.
The revelation is likely to bring new political debate in India and expect to widen the scope of the ongoing probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court.
Top officials of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that undisclosed income to the tune of Rs 3,150 crore ($508 million) has been brought to tax from among HSBC account-holders but pointed out that there were some significant gaps in the data — some 200 accounts with the Government had no balance and 211 of them were of NRIs.
“We are contacting everyone and not leaving this as a presumption. We are putting the onus of proving NRI status during the relevant period on the account-holder,” a senior CBDT official
Narayan Rane denied that neither he nor any of his family members held accounts in HSBC Geneva. He told reporters: “I would like to state clearly that neither my wife, my children nor myself have any foreign accounts or Swiss bank accounts. These allegations have come up even in the past and we have nothing to do with it.”
“There is no black (money)…There is nothing to hide, nothing to worry. (I am) following all regulations and rules,” said Goyal.
A Reliance Industries spokesperson said: “Neither Reliance Industries nor Mukesh Ambani have or had any illegitimate bank accounts anywhere in the world.”
Similarly, a spokesperson for Anil Ambani said: “Mr Ambani does not have any HSBC overseas account”.