AAP attacks Arun Jaitley on black money case

 AAP on Saturday attacked Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely over his claim that data about Indians holding accounts in foreign banks could not be revealed under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and said even apex court in its judgement had rejected this reason for not disclosing the information.

New Delhi: AAP on Saturday attacked Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely over his claim that data about Indians holding accounts in foreign banks could not be revealed under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and said even apex court in its judgement had rejected this reason for not disclosing the information.

The party said the government was already in receipt of two substantial sets of data of such bank holders.

"AAP completely disagrees with the claim of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) signed between India and Germany in 1995 restricts the government from revealing the names of holders of the illicit foreign bank accounts.

"The Indian government has been in receipt of two substantial sets of information of foreign bank holders of illicit money. One pertains to banks in Liechtenstein and other of HSBC Bank branch in Switzerland," the party said in a statement.

"With regards to the information pertaining to bank accounts in Liechtenstein shared by the German government, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement on July 4 2011 has made it amply clear that the argument about India's 1995 agreement with Germany prohibiting any disclosure of relevant documents and details, does not hold," the statement added.

The party said the apex court found no merit in the claim, which is being given by the Finance Ministry now.

"We have perused the said agreement with Germany. We are convinced that the said agreement, by itself, does not proscribe the disclosure of the relevant documents and details of the same, including the names of various bank account holders in Liechtenstein," the party said, quoting para 56 of the Supreme Court's judgement.

The party added that both India and Switzerland are signatories to the UN Convention Against Corruption which emphatically empowers the two countries to give full sanction to make simple changes in the laws of their respective country to tackle black money menace permanently and it also overrides 'bank secrecy laws'

"Therefore the remarks made by Jaitley to the media about the Indian government achieving a breakthrough with the Swiss government, with the Swiss Federal tax authorities now agreeing to confirm genuineness of documents, and initiation of discussion on a bi-lateral agreement between India and Switzerland on automatic exchange of information were long ago well established by virtue of UNCAC.

"It is also pertinent to note that the provisions of the DTAA, which are being repeatedly pleaded as the sole reason for central government's inability to share information dont quite apply in the case of HSBC bank account details possessed by Indian authorities, as it was not made available to Indian authorities by the sovereign government of Switzerland.

"It was made available through other informal channels and therefore it does not fall under the Exchange of Information clause of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement between India and Switzerland," the party added.

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