Advani blames govt for not doing enough to root out corruption
THE BJP on Sunday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who’ll be travelling to London on April 2 to attend the G-20 summit, to use the opportunity to impress upon the western powers to share information about India’s wealth stashed up in Swiss banks and other tax havens so as to facilitate its flight back to the country.
Seeking to wrest the initiative on the probity plank from the Congress-led UPA on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Mr L K Advani questioned the rival alliance’s commitment to root out the role of black money and corruption from public life.
Even as the crisis-laden western powers, led by the United States had embarked upon a mission to force Swiss banks and other offshore tax havens to put an end to banking secrecy to bring back their tax-evading citizens’ hidden wealth, the Manmohan Singh government had, he alleged, maintained a baffling silence on the issue.
The BJP leader disclosed that as early as May last year, he had written a letter to the prime minister to persuade the German government to part with information procured from the LTG Bank in Liechtenstein on confidential data on more than 1,400 clients of the bank. The government’s response, he claimed, was “evasive”.
He said that he did not expect the UPA government to pursue this matter. “People in power should be clean to do this”, he said, training his guns on the Congress-led combine for its failure to take steps to rein in corruption.
If voted back to power, the BJP, he vowed, would do everything within its means to ensure that this wealth, estimated to be in the range of $500 billion (Rs.25,00,000 crore) to $1400 billion (Rs 70,00,000 crore), was brought back to India. “We assure the nation India will join the global effort to put an end to banking secrecy and intensify it by every means—diplomatic, political and economic—to get back the real sovereign wealth of our country,” Mr Advani said.
The BJP, he added, will form a four-member tax force, comprising experts in law, accounting, management and intelligence, to prepare a strategic document for India to recommend ways to get back the national wealth stashed away illegally by corrupt politicians, venal businessmen and criminal overlords. The team will consist of Dr R Vaidyanathan, an expert on finance at IIM, Bangalore, swadeshi ideologue S Gurumurthy, noted lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani and former IB director Ajit Doval.
In the interregnum, the chief ministers of the BJP ruled states, Mr Advani pointed out, will write to the prime minister urging him persuade the Swiss and other authorities to disclose the names of hoarders of Indian money abroad, since it amounted to a huge loss to the exchequer.
The need to bring this money back had become all the more important in view of the fact there was convergence of political bribes, crime money and venal business behind this illicit wealth. “Last year, when the stock market was booming, NSA M K Narayanan had publicly stated that terror money might be operating through fund flows,” the BJP leader remarked.
Key Words: Swiss Bank Accounts, Black Money, Indian Money in Swiss Bank Accounts.