Considering nationalising black money: Government to Ramdev (Lead)

June 3rd, 2011 - 11:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) After failing to stop Baba Ramdev from going ahead with his mass hunger strike against corruption in India, the government Friday night assured him that it was considering to declare as “national asset” the black money stashed in foreign banks - a key demand the yoga guru has raised.

In a late evening press statement following a failed marathon meeting between senior ministers and Ramdev, the government said a committee was already in place to suggest how to strengthen existing laws relating to black money.

“The committee will examine the measures to strengthen the existing legal and administrative framework to deal with the menace of generation of black money through illegal means,” it said.

Among other things, the panel is examining the demand of “declaring wealth generated illegally as national asset; amend laws to confiscate and recover such assets; and providing for exemplary punishment against its perpetrators,” the statement said.

In a point-by-point response to the demands Ramdev has raised, the statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office said the maximum punishment against corrupt would be “substantially increased”.

But it was silent on Ramdev’s demand that those who indulge in graft should be hanged to death.

It said the government “is open to the idea of more special courts to speed up trial of corruption cases”.

On the demand to enact public services delivery legislation, the statement said the government was prepared to introduce the bill in parliament “at the earliest”. “The central government will encourage states to adopt the model bill to improve the quality and timeliness of public service delivery.”

On the contentious issue of land acquisition, the government said it was “committed to wide public consultations on the amendments to the act” related to the issue.

The statement dwelt extensively on the black money issue and said the legal framework was being regulated by the Reserve Bank of India for the opening of bank accounts overseas by Indian residents.

It also said that ill gotten wealth stashed abroad could be recovered through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty — which India has already signed with 26 countries.

“In the last two years, over Rs.33,000 crore of mispricing has been detected in international trade and over Rs.30,000 crore of tax evasion detected at home.

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