I-T obtains classified info on Hasan`s deposits

Income Tax department has received classified information on two high value deposits of stud-farm owner Hasan Ali from the US and the UK.

New Delhi: In a major breakthrough in the efforts to trace illegal money stashed in foreign shores, the Income Tax department has received classified information on two high value deposits of stud-farm owner Hasan Ali from the US and the UK.

The department, through its exclusive foreign taxation unit in the Finance Ministry, has received exhaustive details on the investments made by Ali to the tune of crores of rupees
under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with both the nations, official sources said.

They said the investment channels of the US and the UK
were used to route the money from Switzerland allegedly by Ali and his associates the trails of which connect the dots.

The I-T department has already raised a whopping tax
demand of Rs 71,846 crore (nearly $15 billion) against Ali and others.
The department has received the information on investments by the Pune based businessman -- in both the
United States of America and the United Kingdom -- under the heads `business profits` and `income from independent personal services` as per the international income codes established by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development`s (OECD) model tax convention.

Sources said the information is very critical to India, given the country`s efforts to strengthen its DTAA`s with existing countries and with other countries and tax havens where India is trying to enter into treaties to unearth and bring back black money.

The department, however, has not been able to elicit much response to it`s Letters Rogatory to Switzerland that it had got issued from a Mumbai court about six months back in
the same case.

Ali`s accounts have been traced to the Swiss accounts but Switzerland has said that non-filing of tax returns, which was the condition of the I-T department to obtain LR`s against the businessman, are not an illegal activity under Swiss Federal Tax Administration rules.
In view of this, other options were still being worked out, sources said.

The task however looks tough for Indian tax officials as according to a recent agreement between the financial administrative authorities of both the countries, tax and money related information will only be available for future
investments and not "retrospective" ones.

The department will soon compile the information received from the two countries in `confidential` Compact Discs (CDs) and will dispatch it to I-T ranges concerned in the country for investigation and subsequent attachment of proof to its earlier raised tax demands.

After a search on the premises of Ali in 2007, the Income Tax department had found incriminating documents containing information of $8 billion deposits in UBS AG, a
Swiss Bank.

Besides Ali, persons involved in the case are his wife
Rheema Hasan Ali, Hasan Ali`s associate Kashinath Tapuriah and his wife Chandrika Tapuriah and a related entity RM Investment Pvt Limited.

The tax sleuths had also seized Rs 90 lakh cash from Hasan Ali and attached three of his properties.

The Enforcement Directorate had also approached the Swiss Government on the basis of these documents to probe alleged money laundering charges.

PTI

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