The Ministry of Finance has refused to share copies of three reports on the amount of black money held by Indians in the country and overseas, PTI reported on Monday. The ministry said in response to a Right to Information query that these reports are being examined by a Parliamentary panel, and revealing them would be a breach of Parliamentary privilege.
The erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government had in 2011 commissioned the Delhi-based National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the National Institute of Financial Management to prepare reports on the quantum of black money held by Indians inside and outside India. The National Democratic Alliance government received these reports on December 30, 2013, July 18, 2014, and August 21, 2014, the finance ministry said.
“The reports and government’s response to it have been forwarded to the Lok Sabha secretariat for placing them before the Standing Committee on Finance,” the ministry added. The secretariat has said that these reports have been placed before the committee for examination. The reports were submitted to the panel on July 21, 2017.
However, the finance ministry said disclosing the contents of these reports would be a breach of Parliamentary privilege, and sought an exemption under Section 8 (1) (c) of the Right to Information Act.
In November, the Prime Minister’s Office had declined to share the details of black money brought back from abroad in its response to a Central Information Commission order. The PMO cited a provision of the Right to Information Act that bars the disclosure of information that may impede investigation and prosecution of offenders.