NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday disclosed to the Supreme Court the names of three businessmen — Pradip Burman of the Dabur Group promoter family, Radha S Timblo, a Goa-based miner, and directors of the mining company, and Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya, a bullion trader — after investigation in the case regarding those who had parked black money abroad.
The Centre’s affidavit filed days after the government came under attack from political rivals that it was chary about revealing names, promised to disclose more names of black money holders who have come under its scanner, but said all foreign bank accounts cannot be termed as illegal.
Lodhiya, Timblo Private Limited, its five directors — Radha S Timblo, Chetan Timblo, Rohan Timblo, Anna Timblo and Mallika Timblo — have been mentioned in the 16-page affidavit.
Burman’s prosecution had been undertaken based on information from French authorities, while that of the others is based on information received from other countries, which were not named in the affidavit by the Finance Ministry.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi filed a short affidavit before the court and said, “The government has no intention in withholding names of persons who have stashed black money abroad and the names would be disclosed in all cases where there is a tax evasion.”
The affidavit said, “The government is committed to disclosing names of persons holding illegal money abroad. However, every account held by an Indian in a foreign country may not be illegal and the fundamental right of citizens to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be ignored and has been recognised by this court,” adding that the names and information/documents can’t be disclosed even under proceedings under Article 32(1) of the Constitution.
The government also informed the court that Switzerland was willing to provide information on black money in cases where the probe has been done by I-T department.
The Centre also pleaded to the court to modify its earlier order wherein it was directed to reveal even those foreign bank account holders against whom no evidence was found for stashing black money saying the government would have a problem entering into tax agreements with other countries.
However, those who have been named by the government for hoarding black money in offshore accounts denied any wrongdoing.
Prosecutable names alone will be disclosed
Amid Opposition demands for disclosure of names of all black money holders, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government will make public names of only those people against whom there is a prosecutable case in connection with tax evasion through offshore accounts. Promising to disclose more names, the government has said that all foreign bank accounts cannot be termed as “illegal”. Terming Jaitley’s remarks as “mischievous”, Congress leader Digvijay Singh said, “If he (Jaitley) has guts, he should reveal those names.”