Hours after the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, through which the government intends to expand its tax net, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the Centre has taken a number of steps in the last three years, including demonetisation, against black money and corruption. He said authorities have been mining the data of transactions undertaken after the November 8 decision to scrap high-value currency notes, and at least 3 lakh registered companies were under suspicion. He added that the government has cancelled the registration of over 1 lakh firms, and identified 37,000 shell companies for strong action.
“Demonetisation ka faisla bhi kaale dhan aur bhrashtachar ke khilaaf ek bahut bada kadam tha. Saathiyo, kaale dhan ke khilaaf, is safaai abhiyan ke dauraan, sarkar ne bankon mein jo paise jama huye, uske data mining ke liye ek bahut badi vyavastha khadi ki hai. Lagatar data mining chal raha hai, kahan se rupiya aaye, kahan jama huye, kahan gaye, kaise gaye, 8 November ke baad kya kya hua… Abhi humnein kisiko pakad ke poochtaach nahin ki hai, sirf aankade ka adhyayan kiya hai. Teen lakh se zyada registered company, aisi saamne dikhayi di hain, jinki saari letee-detee shaq ke ghere mein hai (The demonetisation decision was also a huge step against black money and corruption. Friends, during this drive against black money, the government has established a big set-up for mining the data on money deposited in banks. Where the money came from, where it was deposited, where and how it went, what happened after November 8… We haven’t yet started questioning people, but have only studied the data. There are over 3 lakh registered companies that are under suspicion),” said Modi, speaking at an event to mark Chartered Accountants’ Day, organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, some union ministers and chief ministers also attended the event. Modi said the results of the government’s campaign against black money were visible in the data published by the Swiss National Bank. On Thursday, the Swiss National Bank said that money parked by Indians in Switzerland’s banks nearly halved to 676 Swiss francs (about Rs 4,500 crore) in 2016 to hit a record low, amid a continuing clampdown on suspected black money stashed behind their famed secrecy walls.
“Kuch hi log hote hain, jo yeh pragati ko rokne ka kaam karte rehte hain. Aise logon ke khilaaf sarkar ne pichle teen varshon mein kaee kade kadam uthaye hain…Videsh mein kaale dhan ke khilaaf is karyawahi ka kya asar ho raha hai iski gawaahi Swiss bank ke taaze aankdon se mil rahi hai. Swiss bank ne bataya hai Bharatiyon dwara jama rashi ab tak record mein sabse niche star par pahuch gayi hai (There are some people who are trying to hinder the progress. The government has taken various tough steps against such people in the last three years. The effect of the drive against black money can be seen in the fresh data provided by the Swiss bank. The Swiss bank has said that money deposited by Indians has reached the lowest level ever),” said Modi, adding that the amount had risen by 42 per cent in 2013.
He also said that those depositing black money abroad will face more problems once Switzerland starts sharing data with India about funds stashed by Indians there. In November, the two countries signed an agreement as per which data from September 2018, on bank accounts held by Indians in Switzerland, will be shared on an automatic basis from September 2019.
Highlighting the role of chartered accountants in identifying black money transactions by their clients, Modi said their signature was more powerful than that of the Prime Minister’s. He urged the CAs to take charge of bringing their clients to the path of honesty, as a wrong audit can impact the lives of those investing in such firms through the stock market or mutual funds. Modi also said that it was a matter of concern that only 25 chartered accountants have been punished for misdoings in the last 11 years, and that over 1,400 other cases are still pending.
“CA ek aisi vyavastha hai, jismein HR ka kaam aap hi karte hain, curriculum aap hi banate hain, exam aap hi conduct karte hain, rules, regulations bhi aap hi banate hain, aur gunhegaar ko sazaa bhi aap hi ki institution deti hai. Ab sawal yeh uthta hai ke 125 crore deshvaasiyo ke sansad ne aapko itne adhikaar diye hain, phir aisa kya hai ke pichle 11 varsh mein, sirf 25 chartered accountants ke khilaaf karyawahi hui hai? Kya sirf 25 logon ne hi gadbad ki hogi? Aur maine suna hai ke aapke yahan 1,400 se zyada maamle kahin varsho se latke pade huye hain. Ek-ek case ka faisla aane mein saalon lag jaate hain. Itne high qualified professionals ke liye, mere saathiyo, bataiye yeh chinta ka vishay hai ke nahin hai? (In the CA setup, HR, curriculum, exams, rules and regulations are all managed by you. Even the guilty are punished by you. The question is, even with the rights given to you by Parliament, why is it that action has been taken only against 25 CAs in the last 11 years. Is it that only 25 people are involved in misdoings? I’ve heard that you have more than 1,400 cases pending since many years. Each case takes years to be settled. For such highly-qualified professionals, tell me, isn’t it a matter of concern?),” said Modi.
Ahead of the event, a number of chartered accountants who were denied entry into the venue shouted slogans against the government. The authorities requisitioned water cannons and additional security personnel to disperse the crowd.