What Jaitley says about '50% surge in deposits by Indians in Swiss banks'

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 29, 2018 17:46 hrs
Arun Jaitley (PTI image)

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Friday on his blog. Jaitley also criticised Oppositon for running an "ill-informed" campaign on reports about rise in money parked by Indians in Swiss banks. Jaitley said all the money deposited in Swiss banks is not illegal.

In a Facebook post Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley writes:

'A news item has appeared today indicating an increase of money by 'Indians' in the Swiss banking system. This has led to misinformed reaction in certain circles raising a query whether the government's anti-black money steps have yielded results.

'Switzerland in financial disclosures was always a reluctant state. Of late it was subjected to a lot of international pressures which favoured disclosures and Switzerland ran the risk of being a 'non-compliant' State by the FATF.

'It has, therefore, entered into several bilateral treaties for making disclosures to requesting States. It has amended its domestic laws involving all disclosures and entered into a treaty even with India and real time flow of information with regard to Indians will be made.

'The flow of information is starting in January, 2019. Any illegal depositor knows that it is a matter of months before his name becomes public and he will be subjected to the harsh penal provisions of the black money law in India.

'Assuming this information to be correct, what does past experience show? When disclosures have been made with regard to 'Indians', including in the Panama Papers, certainly some of them have held illegal accounts. 'Indian' money outside the country is of various categories.

'Past investigation by CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) have shown that this includes many held by persons of Indian origin who now hold foreign passport, monies belonging to Non-Resident Indians, as also monies belonging to resident Indians who have made legitimate investments abroad, including transfer of money under the liberalised remittance schemes.

'It is only monies kept by resident Indian outside these categories which become actionable. The first two categories are within the jurisdiction of those countries where these persons are residents and the third category can easily be checked up in India.

'If the deposit does not fall in any of these categories, it is per se illegal for which investigations are undertaken, arrests are made and criminal prosecutions are launched.

'Switzerland has taken significant efforts to get out of the image of being a tax haven and a non-compliant State. It is on the verge of making disclosures in real time and, therefore, is no longer an ideal destination for tax evaders.

'Those who participate in a public discourse must understand these basic facts before expressing an opinion which may be ill-informed. To assume that all the deposits are per se tax evaded money or that Switzerland in the matter of illegal deposits is what it was decades ago, is to start on a shaky presumption.'