NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Lok Sabha on Friday that Swiss authorities have raised “certain legal issues” after the Indian Government wrote to them seeking the names of illegal bank account holders in the country. Jaitley said the NDA Government was making efforts to procure the list of account holders and collecting evidence to take action against HSBC account holders named in the document received from the French government.
“We are in the process of communicating with the Swiss authorities, and whatever is the best agreement, within the parameters of their law, we will consider it,” Jaitley told the Lower House.
“There is a treaty with Switzerland, but it is prospective. Swiss authorities cannot look into past cases. They have assured that whatever help can be provided shall be extended to the Indian government,” he said.
Jaitley told the House that Article 26 of the Swiss treaty regulated the exchange of information as far as India and Switzerland were concerned. He said these agreements were arrived at to keep the limitations of the Swiss law in mind.
“Swiss law, in this matter, is also an evolving process. We are keeping a very close eye on further changes, which are being discussed in that country,” Jaitley said while replying to TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s question.
Jaitley said India had earlier received a list of 700 illegal bank account holders in Switzerland, which the French government had shared on the condition that the names would not be made public.
He said the list did not reach the French Government through an “official route”.
He also said that the government has already initiated tax proceedings against those identified. Centre has received Lichtenstein bank details as well.