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Govt gives SC list of 26 with money in Liechtenstein,but says can’t share

The Central Board of Direct Taxes submitted to the Supreme Court the list of Indians who have accounts in Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi |
January 18, 2011 4:39:05 am

The Central Board of Direct Taxes today submitted to the Supreme Court the list of Indians who have accounts in Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank but rejected its sharing in the public domain saying that would violate a sovereign agreement between India and Germany.

“The list of 26 Indians (resident and non-resident) was handed to the court in a sealed cover with the stipulation that this information cannot be made public in view of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between both nations,” said an Income-Tax official.

The court has been told that public sharing would not only violate Clause 26 of the DTAA but also hamper negotiations with Switzerland and a dozen other countries on amending the existing DTAAs to provide for exchange of information related to bank accounts.

Under the clause,the information submitted is privileged and details of the informant,its recipient and that of accountholders cannot be revealed to any third person except share it with the court or investigating agencies.

A status report,which accompanies the list,says that the IT department had raised tax demand of Rs 24.26 crore on 18 resident Indians who had deposited Rs 43.83 crore in the names of trusts with the LGT Bank.

The apex court on Friday pulled up the CBDT for its reluctance to share information on Indians who had stashed away black money in foreign banks and had asked it to explain the reasons for not revealing their names.

The court is hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Ram Jethmalani which alleges that Rs 70 lakh crore of black money was kept in foreign banks and the government was not taking effective steps to recover it.

It will resume hearing on Wednesday.

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