Slush funds stashed abroad a threat to security: Advani (Lead, Superseding earlier story)

April 17th, 2009 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, April 17 (IANS) Expressing apprehensions that Indian slush funds stashed abroad could be used for terrorism, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani announced here Friday that if voted to power, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would bring back the money within 100 days.
Addressing the media here, Advani said the BJP has set up a special task force to ascertain the entire gamut of Indian slush funds deposited in foreign banks, including Swiss banks.

“The four-member task force has already submitted its interim report. Not just the Swiss banks, there are around 70 tax havens worldwide which are used to stash slush monies,” Advani said, using the country’s commercial capital to highlight the BJP’s stance on black money.

Quoting from the report, he said anything between between Rs.25 lakh crore and Rs.70 lakh crore (Rs.25-70 trillion/$503 billion-1.41 trillion) is lying abroad.

“We are ready to share the interim report with the next government that takes power and all other political parties for a debate,” the prime ministerial aspirant added.

Advani also called for a “national consensus” on its plans to bring back the slush funds after the elections.

According to him, the flight of capital to developed countries has damaged developing India’s economy and security.

“The recovery of the funds could immensely help the country’s economy and security. These funds can be ploughed back into the Indian economy for developmental works,” Advani argued.

“This is what has prompted us to go in such a fortnight manner on this issue.”

Replying to a question whether it would take action if any BJP members were found to have funds abroad, Advani said “whoever it may be, we shall not spare them”.

Advani expressed apprehension that the monies from such tax havens could have helped fund terror activities and terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, stressing that the US Administration under President Barack Obama was also planning legislation to target tax havens.

Urging India not to remain a “mute spectator” to this issue, he urged the government to come up with similar initiatives and repatriate slush funds lying in foreign banks.

Mahesh Jethmalani, S. Gurumurthy, Ajit Doval and R. Vaidyanathan comprised the BJP’s task force that prepared the interim report.

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