The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday termed the Centre’s move to reveal the names of three people having black money stashed abroad in its affidavit to the Supreme Court as historic, saying that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has kept its promise.
“Today is a historical day in the fight for black money. This government at the Centre has shown the intention of not only declaring the names, but also bringing back the black money,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
“It had promised the people that we would fight for the black money issue. Today is the day when the promise has been kept,” he added.
Patra further said the names are being gradually declared as promised by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and added that the procedure has started today.
The Centre today revealed the names of three people having black money stashed abroad in its affidavit to the apex court.
Pradeep Burman, former Director of Dabur group, Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya, a Rajkot based bullion trader and Radha S Timbola, a Goa based miner, reportedly feature in the much awaited list.
The three businessmen have been charged under various sections of the Income Tax Act and Money Laundering Act.
The ruling BJP had raised the issue of black money during the campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha and repeatedly questioned the stand of the former Congress-led UPA regime.
The government is building pressure particularly on Switzerland, seeking details of Indians who have parked unaccounted for money in the Alpine country’s highly secretive banks. It has quickly implemented a Supreme Court directive to set up a high-powered special investigation team, headed by retired judge MB Shah, to look into the issue.
While there are no official estimates, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based think-tank, has estimated that Indians had parked USD 462 billion in overseas tax havens between 1948 and 2008.
Earlier, the government had told the apex court that it could not disclose the names of those who have deposited money in banks abroad as it this would jeopardise tax agreements with nations providing those names to India.
There were murmurs of protest within the ruling BJP that not disclosing names would hurt the party’s image after it had made bringing back black money, a key issue in a general election that it won by a landslide. The Centre’s stand also drew a strong response from the Congress, which accused it of hypocrisy.
Turning the tables on the Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had recently said the disclosing of names of people holding black money accounts will embarrass the opposition party.