Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Indo-Swiss black money trail

Why has India not been able to crack down on the citizens who have stashed away huge amounts in the Swiss bank? Government of India says there isn’t enough information/evidence to indict the offenders. Point considered but what has the Government done in the last 5-6 years to find evidence? Leads have to be converted to evidence by the investigative authority. Isn’t it?

The latest we hear is that, the Government of India has a list of names who have accounts abroad but won’t reveal the names as it would breach the Treaty under which the names were extracted and beyond that the Government is concerned about the mutual trust that would be broken. Well, you don’t have to reveal the names; the least you could tell the citizens is what action has been taken? Answers come only when probed and those answers aren’t satisfactory. For instance, the concerned department in the Government is working on the papers to levy tax from the offenders. How long? Shouldn’t the Government be proactive in investigating such sensitive cases rather than make answers when quizzed?

Is this only tax evasion? Have these citizens only dodged paying their taxes? If it is only a case of tax evasion then yes the Government of India is bound by the double taxation treaty that doesn’t entitle to disclose the names. In which case, as the Government claims, it can only work on imposing the tax and rightful law for flouting the India Law. Recent media investigation clearly reveals that some of the offenders are not just tax offenders but have gone beyond.

When the media has evidence against certain people and their nexus with arms/gun dealers, cases of money laundering then aren’t these cases beyond tax evasion. Aren’t these potential cases of threat to National security? Is the government conveniently hiding behind the Double Taxation Treaty clauses and not doing enough? Shouldn’t the government be presenting a case of crime to the Swiss Government, when the information is requested beyond the norms of Double Taxation treaty by representing a strong case of International threat, can’t we reveal the names now? Why hasn’t India made such a representation yet? Government claims, ‘No Evidence’ to be placed before the International community, there is no strong case here.

Media says there is evidence, The Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India has done investigation and a report was available in 2009 against Mr.Hasan Ali, who had six-eight billion dollars in his account. Why can’t the Government pursue this one case where we have evidence and why can’t government work on procuring other information and evidence? Won’t one case lead to the other skeletons in the cloak? Isn’t it clear that the Government of India is not showing any will to move forward? If any action/investigation is being done as claimed by Government then it is on a snail’s pace. Shouldn’t the Government be transparent in their investigation? Now, the Government is proud to present a five point strategy to tackle tax evasion. Does it take 6 long years to come out with Strategy? If it takes 6 years for formulating a strategy then you can imagine when justice would be delivered. Why are we so slow?

It is completely understandable that a case of money laundering and stashing money in tax havens aboard is an International issue and involves many stakeholders. There might be many bottlenecks in the investigation process, yet the time period for execution doesn’t seem to be because of other dependencies rather it seems like inefficiency and lethargy of Government to act. One of the senior leaders in the Government on Talk show smirked at us, asking the Indians, “why you believe in the Swiss Government so much, what makes you think they will reveal the names so easily, even other powerful nations are struggling to get information from the Swiss, it is not as easy as you Indians believe.” To put it in his words, He said it is close to impossible to get the money back to India.

It doesn’t matter what the Swiss does, we are concerned about what India does. Have you requested for the information from the Swiss in the first place by presenting a factual true case. First let us do our bit then we can talk about the rest.
How do you expect us to believe you when all that we see is irregularities and corruption in running of the Government? Seeing is believing!


S@n!)y said...

well talking about the actions, imagine the ppl to take actions getting involved in such things, they want to keep themselves out so is the action pending. might be u heard abt sonia being in 2g scam invloving huge money which when distributed among indians leave 2 lakhs each.All this change when the present leaders change. like we have interviews for our job i wish thr could be such thing to enter politics, get good people in make it like a private industry so that things wrk fine and corruptions, scams , uneducated ppl bein in politics and all such things get over.

mayur said...

Nicely written, Divya (am assuming u knw me. Atleast, Sandeep told me that you know me :)). I completely agree with you. It has more to do with lack of intent than complacence or lethargy (the reasons are pretty obvious). However, lets consider we mange to get the money back. But, with the current set of regulations (policies) I strongly believe the money would find its way back ( i'd like to know if you disagree). Rather, while all this is happening lot of money might still be flowing out. So, making our diktat stronger is as important (if not more) than bringing the money back and punishing the goons. We as a country should ponder over creating a well insulated (from curroption) system. Let me know your thoughts.... :)


Divya said...

@ Sandy - True, having selection criteria for politicians might just help in bringing down corruption. But we still see corrupt bureaucrats in the governance and corporate world. Qualification is one of clean up activities.

@ Mayur - Thanks for dropping by, and glad to meet you @ my blog :) I agree on your point that our efforts should be more oriented to building a fool proof system against corruption than chasing what has happened. The need of the hour is definitely a 'well insulated' system. I also believe the individuals who have committed crime should be penalized, we don't have to work on retracting the money, the least we could do is show the public who the culprits are and punish them. They shouldn't go free, if they are brought to books, it would send a strong signal to others. Now i see even common honest men flouting small rules, when asked why, they are quick to respond, the government is looting in millions, mine is just a few hundreds. People are becoming cynical and we are setting wrong precedents.