NEW DELHI: No sooner had the Supreme Court rejected the Government plea to modify its the earlier order on July 4, 2011, and ordered it to disclose all names of alleged black money account holders forthwith, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came out with an assurance “no will be protected”.
He said that the entire list of over 500 names (as the Attorney-General had informed the court) will be shared with the apex court on Wednesday.
The list, Jaitley added, will be given to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope, refusing to specify whether the government will subsequently be open to making the list public.
Since questions remained as to why the Government shared the information with the Supreme Court appointed Special Task Force on June 27, but quite mysteriously not disclose it (the sharing of the list with SIT) with the court earlier, Jaitley had to lengthen his clarification.
“The government shall place the list before the Court because the government has already given (the list) to the court constituted Special Task Force. The government is keen that by whatever procedure in accordance with law we must get to the root of the matter,” Jaitley said.
He also sought to dispel the public perception that the government was being cagey about disclosing the names and trying to hide behind international treaties, the Double Taxation Treaty, in order to “selectively disclose names” as was alleged by the Opposition and also by ace lawyer Ram Jethamalini.
“The Government has no difficulty in placing the entire list and the same will be placed before the court on Wednesday,” Jaitley said.
The SC on Tuesday hauled up the government for seeking modification of its order on disclosure of names of black money holders abroad. It directed the Centre to place before it names of all such account holders by Wednesday.
Modifying his earlier stand on difficulty in disclosing the names due to international treaties, Jaitley said that the government was keen to punish all “illicit foreign account holders” and would do everything to bring back black money stashed abroad.
“The truth about these names and also these accounts must come out so that penal action can be taken against the people and the money lying there can be brought back to India. The government has no difficulty whatsoever with any agency investigating this matter because there is nobody the government wants to protect in this case that those, whose names have come must really be investigated and punished according to law,” the FM said, quickly putting on record that the government wanted to follow procedure so that reciprocating countries continue to cooperate with India.
It could be noted here though that the names were shared with the Indian Government in 2011 and the previous regime too had been acting coy about disclosing of the entire list.
Only 26 names were shared with the apex court, in April 2014, citing international treaties and ongoing investigation.
Black or white, Reveal names
The order of SC of July 4 2011 which Centre wanted to modify had directed the government to reveal even the names of foreign bank account holders against whom no evidence was found for stashing black money. “The issue of unaccounted monies held by nationals, and other legal entities, in foreign banks, is of primordial importance to the welfare of the citizens,” it had said.
Kejriwal Moves Intervention plea
AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal has also filed an intervention application before the court and disclosed ten names that have account abroad and stated that all this information has been provided to him by a whistle blower.