Don`t have info on Swiss a/c then give affidavit: CIC to MEA

The CIC has directed the External Affairs Ministry to submit an affidavit that it does not have any information about the Indians who have stashed their black money in Swiss banks or about investigations in such matters.

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2011, 20:59 PM IST

New Delhi: The CIC has directed the
External Affairs Ministry to submit an affidavit that it does
not have any information about the Indians who have stashed
their black money in Swiss banks or about investigations in
such matters.

The Central Information Commission`s order comes
barely days after the Supreme Court questioned the government
for keeping under wraps the names of individuals who have
stashed blackmoney in foreign banks.

"The Commission directs the CPIO, MEA to submit his
affidavit affirming on oath on a non-judicial stamp paper the
fact that neither any list of the account holders nor any
other information about such investigation, information
whereof has been sought by the applicant is available on
record," Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit said.

The direction to submit the affidavit within three
days came after the MEA denied having any records pertaining
to the accounts held by Indians in Swiss Banks for depositing
their blackmoney and said that no such information has ever
been provided by the European country.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by one
Promod Chawla who sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariat
if Swiss and German governments passed any information about
accounts held by Indian nationals in their banks, the details
of such accounts and steps taken by the government to
investigate such accounts.

The application was forwarded, under the provisions of
the transparency law, to the MEA to provide a suitable reply.

The Ministry said no such information is available
with it and that Finance Ministry is re-negotiating the
Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Switzerland.

Chawla then filed an appeal with the Central
Information Commission saying he was not satisfied with the
reply provided by the MEA.

Information Commissioner Dixit directed the MEA
officials to again search the records and provide information
to the applicant.

During the hearing, MEA again reiterated that no
records pertaing to information about blackmoney deposited in
foreign banks could be traced by it.

After going through the arguments of both sides, Dixit
pointed out that according to MEA there is no record of any
list of Indians holding secret accounts in Swiss Banks or
elsewhere, provided by Government of Switzerland or by any
other country to MEA, as also no record of any such
information having been submitted by Indian Ambassadors.

She directed the official to submit a copy of a duly
sworn and attested affidavit with the Commission and RTI
applicant before January 20.

PTI