Why govt not disclosing info on black money?: SC


Staff member
New Delhi January 15:

Talking tough, the Supreme Court questioned the Government as to why it was reluctant in disclosing the names of Indian nationals who have allegedly stashed black money in foreign banks.

"What is the difficulty in disclosing the information," a Bench comprising B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar asked when Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium informed the bench that Government has got the details but did not want to reveal it. The court's remarks came after the Government contended that it has got the information from the German government pertaining to the bank accounts of Indian citizens in Liechtenstein Bank there.

"What is the privilege you are claiming for not disclosing the information (about those who have money deposited in foreign banks)," the Bench asked Subramanium. After the court's poser, Subramanium submitted that he would take instructions from the Government with reference to the names of the Indian nationals holding bank accounts in foreign countries.

The court was hearing a petition filed by noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who along with some retired bureaucrats and police officers approached it seeking directions to the government to take steps to bring black money stashed in foreign bank back to the country. The court said it would like persons including Pune-based businessman Hassan Ali Khan, who is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) in connection with alleged black money stashed in foreign banks, to be impleaded as a party to the petition.

"If the names of the account holders are before us then why not implead them in the case. Let them come," the court. The Centre also submitted that it has no problem in placing status report on its investigation on any individual. "I am prepared to give status report on any individual. There is no difficulty in giving status report. We are committed to our position that there has been tax avoiding cases," the SG said.

The court, however, said that it was a serious problem and not only about tax avoidance. "Issues involved in the case are serious and of larger dimension. It's not only about tax-avoidance," the court said.