NEW DELHI: Close on the heels of the Centre submitting in the Supreme Court, its inability to disclose the entire information pertaining to Indian nationals holding bank accounts in foreign tax havens, the Congress on Friday demanded an apology from the BJP for hounding the previous UPA Government on the same issue.
“Declare black money account holders or apologise to us for the previous attacks,” senior Congress leader and former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here.
Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, meanwhile, circulated printouts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweets in the past to demand that he make a climbdown from his earlier stand.
Lashing out at the Centre for failing to keep its poll promises, Singhvi accused the BJP of political hypocrisy. “By not revealing the black money account holders’ names, the government’s hypocrisy has been exposed,” he said.
Singhvi also took a jibe at social activist Anna Hazare and former IPS officer turned campaigner Kiran Bedi asking whether they would now go on an indefinite fasting as they had done during the UPA tenure. “Will Bedi and Hazare start an indefinite fast in front of PM Modi’s house?” he wondered.
The Centre had earlier in the day told the apex court that it was difficult to declare the names of people, who had stashed black money in foreign banks, citing violation of double taxation avoidance agreement signed by the then Narasimha Rao-led Congress Government in 1995 as a reason.
Khurshid rubbished the claims, saying, “This government should not repeat what the previous regime did. It is up to the new dispensation to decide whether to backtrack from the treaty and keep its promises to the country.”
Seconding Khurshid’s view, former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said, “They cannot cite the 1995 treaty. From 1998 to 2004, the BJP was in power and why didn’t it make any changes to it then?”
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, explained that the names of persons, who are facing investigation for holding black money accounts, would be made public once the charges were filed in the court.
“Swiss authorities will provide details of bank accounts of persons, who have been investigated by the Income Tax authorities,” he said.
The BJP leader also said India and Switzerland were discussing bilateral agreement for automatic exchange of information.