Citing confidentiality, govt declines to share black money details received from Switzerland

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on May 17, 2019

The government has declined to share details on black money received from Switzerland, citing confidentiality.

Replying to an RTI query, the Finance Ministry said India and Switzerland share information on black money on a case to case basis as per the investigations being carried out. It is an ongoing process, it added.

“The information shared by Switzerland on black money is governed by confidentiality provisions,” it said in reply to the RTI application filed by a PTI journalist.

The Ministry was asked to provide details of black money received from Switzerland, including the names of firms and individuals, besides the details of action taken on the information.

India and Switzerland are signatories to Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. The two countries have, for automatic sharing of financial account information between the two countries, signed a joint declaration on November 22, 2016, it said.

“The necessary legal arrangements have been put in place and from 2019 onwards, India will receive information of financial accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for the calender year 2018 and subsequent years,” the Ministry said.

This, it said, will be useful in tracing unaccounted income and assets of Indian residents in Switzerland and bringing the same to tax. There is no estimation of the amount of black money in circulation both inside and outside the country, the Ministry said.

In reply to an earlier RTI application, the Finance Ministry had declined to share copies of three reports on the quantum of black money held by Indians inside the country and abroad, saying they were being examined by a parliamentary panel and disclosing details will cause a breach of privilege of the House.

These reports were submitted to the government more than four years ago.

Published on May 17, 2019

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