The central government has refused to divulge information on black money cases received from Switzerland, saying that it is confidential. The Finance Ministry was replying to a Right to Information query, PTI reported on Friday.
“The information shared by Switzerland on black money cases is governed by confidentiality provisions,” the Finance Ministry said in its reply to the news agency’s RTI request. The ministry said that India and Switzerland share information on black money as per the cases under investigation, which is an ongoing process.
The RTI had sought details of black money cases that were received from Switzerland along with the names of the companies or individuals, and the action taken. In December 2017, India and Switzerland had signed a multilateral convention Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which enables the two countries to automatically exchange financial data.
“The necessary legal arrangements have been put in place and from 2019 onwards, India will receive information of financial accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for the calendar year 2018 and subsequent years,” the Finance Ministry said, according to PTI.
The RTI also asked the ministry to reveal information on the black money that has been received from other countries. The ministry claimed that 427 actionable HSBC Bank account cases, received from France, have been assessed.
“In these cases, undisclosed income of about Rs 8,465 crore has been brought to tax on account of deposits made in the unreported foreign bank accounts,” the ministry said in the reply, according to PTI. “Out of the above mentioned 427 cases in which assessments have been completed, concealment penalty of about Rs 1,291 crore has been levied in 162 cases.”
In February, the Ministry of Finance had refused to share three reports on the amount of black money possessed by Indians in the country and overseas. The ministry had said that the reports were being examined by a Parliamentary panel, and so revealing them would be a breach of Parliamentary privilege.
In 2011, the United Progressive Alliance government had commissioned the three studies to Delhi-based Public Finance and Policy and the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the National Institute of Financial Management in Faridabad. The reports of the three bodies were received by the Centre between 2013 and 2014.
Last year, the Swiss National Bank’s annual report said that money kept by Indians in Swiss banks rose over 50% to 1.01 billion Swiss francs (Rs 6,974 crore) in 2017.