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Nothing to hide but Germans protested, others may too, says A-G Mukul Rohatgi

A-G said that the Govt would also hand over to SC a status report on the progress made in each case.

Mukul Rohtagi Mukul Rohtagi

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said Tuesday that while the government has “nothing to hide” on the issue of black money allegedly stashed by Indians in foreign banks, the list of account holders in HSBC’s Geneva branch has to be placed in a sealed cover in order to uphold the tax treaty with France under which it was obtained.

Replying to a query from The Indian Express, Rohatgi confirmed that Germany, which had provided a list of 18 account holders in LGT bank in Liechtenstein under a similar treaty, had registered its protest with the Indian government after those names were handed over to the Supreme Court in April.

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre — represented by Rohatgi — to disclose to it on Wednesday the names of all those being probed for allegedly stashing black money abroad.

“We have nothing to hide and nobody to shield and this very list has been handed over to the SIT (on black money) on June 27 itself. Having said this, we are also concerned about the future treaties we have to sign, and about information on other black money trails drying up from other countries. We have to put this list in a sealed cover so that we do not violate the terms of the treaty,’’ Rohatgi said.

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“The Germans had protested and others may protest too. That is why we are putting these 600 odd names in a sealed cover and asking them (the Supreme Court bench) to keep it only in their custody. We have after all given an unequivocal assurance to the French Government that the information and names supplied on the HSBC list will only be used by India as per terms of the treaty.’’

Rohatgi said that the Government would also hand over to Supreme Court a status report on the progress made in each case, including details about verification of identities of account holders, searches conducted, tax notices sent and money recovered.

In June 2011, France provided details of Indians with bank accounts in the Swiss bank, under the provisions of the Direct Tax Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between the two countries. In March 2009, information on deposits in accounts maintained by 12 trusts and entities with the bank in Liechtenstein was received from the German tax authorities under the DTAC between India and Germany.

First published on: 29-10-2014 at 05:00:38 am
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