New Delhi: The government on Monday informed Parliament that the Income Tax Department and its other wings are probing the information received with regard to foreign bank accounts of individuals and entities with the HSBC bank.
"HSBC list of accounts is being investigated by the Income Tax Department and other departments," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said during a discussion on the Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
The case of money laundering, he said, would arise only if there was a predicate offence and the proceeds of were used for money laundering purposes.
The government, it may mentioned, had in June, 2011 received information from France relating to certain bank accounts reportedly held by certain individuals/non- individuals in a Geneva branch of HSBC Bank.
The IT Department has also initiated the exercise to obtain more information with regard to account holders from foreign governments.
"Appropriate action has been taken on these cases and further action, including assessment, tax collection and levy of penalty will be taken as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and based on the facts of each case," a government statement had said.
It was also pointed out that the information received from the French government was covered by the confidentiality clause under the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between the two countries and could only be used only for the specified tax purposes.
According to media reports, India had received data of over 700 HSBC accounts from the French government.
The issue was also raised by social activist Arvind Kejriwal who had alleged that about Rs 6,000 crore belonging to powerful business houses and influential individuals were lying in the HSBC bank accounts.