BJP, like Congress
In its latest turnaround, the BJP-led central government has now indicated that might disclose a limited number of names, cherry picked from the list of foreign bank account holders possessed by the government through formal/informal sources. This is clearly an exercise to save its face.
The central government’s move raises the following key questions:
- Why only these 136 names ?
People of the country believe that the previous Congress-led UPA government had things to hide and blocked the disclosure of names. Now, with BJP government’s similar reluctance in sharing the names gives rise to a reasonable apprehension about its real intentions.
By cherry-picking a set of names and concealing others, it has further confirmed the belief that the BJP is hell-bent on saving some of the influential people appearing in those lists.
The truth is – there is no law in India or treaty with any country that stops the Indian government from taking action against the possessors of illicit money.
- BJP playing politics on the issue ?
Two recent developments have confirmed that the BJP wants to play politics over the issue of black money, rather than solving it. First, is the central government’s turnaround on the non-disclosure of some names and second is the cherry-picking of names to score political points.
Its clear that anyone who possesses illicit money, irrespective of his/her affiliation with any political party, must be brought to book. Politics should not be played, rather the promise made by Mr Rajnath Singh of bringing back every penny of black money sitting abroad within 150 days of coming to power, and that of Mr Modi of attributing such money to every citizen to the tune of Rs.15-20 Lakh per person, should be worked towards.
- Double Tax Avoidance Treaty is not the issue-A matter already settled by the Supreme Court :
The Supreme Court in its judgement on 4th July 2011 after perusing the double Tax Avoidance Agreement between India and Germany emphatically conveyed that there provision or hindrance in the agreement that limits the disclosure of information. The SC also pointed, such a plea is untenable as no agreement can limit infringe upon the principles laid down in our constitution.
Extract of para 58 of the judgement: “The above clause in the relevant agreement with Germany would indicate that, contrary to the assertions of Union of India, there is no absolute bar of secrecy. Comity of nations cannot be predicated upon clauses of secrecy that could hinder constitutional proceedings such as these, or criminal proceedings”.
- Intentional disregard of United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
India, Germany and Switzerland – all are signatories to the UNCAC which emphatically empowers the two countries on following counts:
- UN Convention Against Corruption gives full sanction to make simple changes in the laws of our country to tackle black money menace permanently
- UN Convention Against Corruption overrides ‘bank secrecy laws’
- UN Convention Against Corruption empowers to freeze, seize and confiscate illicit money
- UN Convention Against Corruption on Mutual Assistance by different tax jurisdictions
It is indeed surprising to see that the BJP government is disregarding the UNCAC, rather than using it to its benefit and prosecute those who possess illicit money.
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