New Delhi, Jan 25 (Jagran News Network):  In a contradictory stand of sorts, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday declared that the government had nothing to hide vis-à-vis the issue of black money but at the same time was not in the position to reveal the names of alleged offenders.

Addressing a press conference here, Mukherjee outlined the government's strategy to tackle the issue and indicated administrative and legislative steps taken so far, saying a 5 pronged strategy was being adopted to counter stop the outflows of illegal money from India.

The strategy includes legislative, legal, information exchange and diplomacy.

Mukherjee said he could not reveal the names of those that the government had got from Germany as that was covered under various secrecy clauses.

“Even I am not privy to that information. The names would be revealed when the I-T Dept files cases against the accused,” he said when asked to reveal the information. He added that the government had provided the names to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope and that it had nothing to hide.

He further said that there is no reliable estimate of black money generated by Indians within and outside the country, though there is an approximate USD 462mn outflow of illicit money from India.

A multi-disciplinary committee has been appointed to estimate the amount the black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks and a group has been appointed to look into the possibility of an amnesty scheme to bring out black money.

He said that India has completed double taxation with 23 nations and has 13 new double taxation avoidance agreements with nations. India has also started receiving information of Indians who have generated income outside the country under double taxation avoidance agreements

India has also identified 10 new countries as ‘Tax Havens’ which includes Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Argentina and Monaco.

In response to the opposition’s demand to reveal names of the accused, he said that no information can be exchanged without a legal framework and no sovereign country is going to share information on black money.

When pointed out that the USA had got a list from the UBS bank in Switzerland of its tax evaders, the minister said that was a part of out-of-court settlement.

India is updating laws on transfer pricing mechanism to bring it at par with international standards as part of attempts to bring back the black money stashed abroad.

Government is not afraid of danger to the coalition in not disclosing the names of black money holders abroad.  “We will complete our full term,” Mukherjee said.

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