Black Money Probe: Government Starts Legal Proceedings Against 60 People

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New Delhi:  The Union government has started legal proceedings against 60 people who allegedly have black money stashed away in illegal foreign accounts, sources told media.

The total amount allegedly stashed in these accounts could exceed Rs. 1500 crore and the list includes the names of persons related to big corporates, sources said.

The legal proceedings started after the Income Tax authorities established through independent investigation tax evasion by 60 Indians through foreign accounts. As per the double taxation treaties, the names of foreign account holders can be made public only after court proceedings begin.

Last year, in October, a list of 627 foreign account holders was submitted to the Supreme Court. Three names were made public – including that of Pradeep Burman of the Dabur Group – on an affidavit to the Supreme Court after legal proceedings had started against them.

The submission was made after the Supreme Court, which created a special committee to map the recovery of black money, had rebuked the government, saying it wanted the names of the people allegedly involved and it would do the rest.

The Centre claimed it was facing a hurdle, since tax treaties ban the disclosure of names at preliminary stages of inquiry.

Justice MB Shah, who heads the special committee tasked by the Supreme Court to handle the issue, had told NDTV that the investigations will be completed by March 31 this year, the deadline set by the court.

More than 200 account holders gave consent letter for probes and by the end of November, the scrutiny of over 100 accounts was over. Not all 627 foreign accounts were illegal and 400 of the 627 account holders were Indians, sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to bring back “every penny of the poor man’s money” stashed abroad as untaxed or black money, saying it was “an article of faith” for him.

But the government claimed to have run up against a maze of clauses in international agreements that make it tough to “retrieve black money”.

The Prime Minister’s Office has reportedly asked the revenue department to look for ways other than bilateral tax treaties to bring back funds stashed abroad.

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