New Delhi: A day after it was revealed that money held by Indians in Swiss bank accounts saw a 50 per cent jump in 2017, finance minister Piyush Goel on Friday said it is not correct to assume all of it would be black money.
Assuring that data related to money held by Indians in Swiss banks would be available by next year, Goel promised strong action if any illegalities are discovered. "The data that you alluded to will come to us, so how are you assuming that this is black money or this is illegal transaction?" he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. "We will have all information. If someone is found guilty, the government will take strong action against them." India and Switzerland have a treaty according to which data between January 1 of 2018 and December 31 of 2018 would be provided.
What has put the spotlight on the money in Swiss banks is a report which highlighted that the figure rose to CHF 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in the year 2017 - the magnitude of increase far higher than the rise in money parked here by all other foreign clients of Swiss banks. After three years of seeing a downward turn, the rise comes as a shot in the arm for political rivals who have questioned the government on its pre-poll promise of bringing back black money.
Opposition leaders have slammed the government for not doing enough to curb black money being stashed in Swiss banks. They have also questioned why demonetisation did not achieve one of its stated objectives of curbing black money within the country. The government though maintains that all those guilty of financial fraud would be dealt with heavily.