New Delhi: Under attack from various quarters on the issue of blackmoney, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the Income Tax Department has taken several punitive and deterrent measures to tackle the problem.

"The Income Tax Department takes several punitive and deterrent steps to unearth unaccounted money and curb tax evasion," Mukherjee said in a reply to Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

He, however, said that the government cannot disclose the names of persons who were being probed by the Income Tax Department in connection with their unaccounted wealth in overseas bank accounts.

"Government has received information from various countries regarding assets, including bank accounts, held abroad by Indians. The information received is confidential under the confidentiality provision of the DTAA/TIEA, under which the information is received," he added.

Mukherjee said unaccounted assets to the tune of Rs 964 crore and Rs 775 crore were seized during 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.

Till date the government has signed Direct Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with 81 countries and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with 5 jurisdictions. It has concluded negotiations with 17 jurisdictions for signing of TIEA. Of the 81 DTAAs, 75 do not have specific paragraph for exchange of banking information. All these 75 DTAAs have been picked up for renegotiation. Renegotiations have been completed in 22 cases.

India had already signed a revised tax agreement with Switzerland. Under this pact, both the countries would share banking and tax-related information with each other.

In a separate reply, Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam said prosecution complaints have been filed in various courts in cases of 17 persons, about whom information was received from the German tax authorities as regards bank accounts in Liechtenstein.

He also said that the government is not considering any proposal to come out with a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme for declaration of unaccounted money.

(Agencies)