India has got black money details from Germany: government (Lead)

May 2nd, 2009 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Assuring the Supreme Court that it was trying to retrieve black money stashed in tax havens abroad, the government Saturday said it has already secured significant information from Germany and income-tax sleuths were following it up.
The finance ministry disclosed this in a 27-page affidavit to the apex court in response to a lawsuit accusing the government of doing precious little to retrieve Indian black money to the tune of Rs.70 trillion stashed abroad.

In its affidavit, the government also told the court that its persistent efforts in collaboration with international community have also resulted in Switzerland agreeing to make its secretive banking laws and norms more transparent in tune with the global standards.

Reiterating its assertion that it is not sitting idle in this matter, Director Priya V.K. Singh of the Department of Revenue under the finance ministry told the court that following repeated efforts since Feb 27 last year, the government got the information on Indians with secret accounts in LGT Bank of Liechtenstein March 18 this year.

The government, however, added in its affidavit that the information procured from Germany cannot be made public owing to the condition of strict confidentiality under which it was procured.

“On account of persistent follow-up by the union government, the German government provided the information (about Indians’ secret bank accounts) on March 18, 2009,” said the affidavit.

“The said information, however, was made available on the condition of strict confidentiality of contents under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement,” it added.

“The information received from the German authorities has been forwarded to various taxation authorities concerned for action as appropriate under the provisions of the Income Tax, 1961 and the Wealth Tax Act, 1957,” it said.

It added “the tax authorities have initiated the process of reopening the assessments (of those tax evaders) under the Income Tax Act, 1961 and Wealth Tax Act, 1957″.

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