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‘Black’ paper gathers dust

Saturday, 10 November 2012 - 9:12am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Three govt bodies working on estimating black money continue to miss their deadlines.

Three government bodies entrusted with chalking out official estimates of black money have continued to miss their deadlines, while a White Paper is gathering dust in North Block — that sums up the lethargy in the finance ministry that is tasked with prosecuting the offenders.

While Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the government did not raid the political and business bigwigs having undisclosed money in HSBC bank, Geneva, the finance ministry refused to comment on the matter. “These are sensitive matters and the ministry will not be able to share any details as of now,” a finance ministry spokesperson said.

The White Paper presented by the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that “there are no reliable estimates of the black money generation or accumulation, neither is there an accurate well accepted methodology for making such estimation.”

A year before coming out of with the White Paper, the government had outsourced the job of black money estimation to NCAER, the National Institute of Public Finance and the National Institute of Financial Management. They missed the September deadline to submit the official estimates of black money of Indian tax evaders.

Interestingly, since 1970 at least four committees have worked on estimation of Indian black money abroad.

On Friday, Kejriwal also named businessmen Parvinder Singh Kalra, Praveen Sawhney and Bikram Dhirani who had given statements under section 132(4) and 133(a) of the Income Tax Act admitting that they held accounts in the Geneva branch of the HSBC Bank. Kejriwal argued that similar statements should have been taken from the “bigwigs” named in the list followed by raids by the IT department. They have demanded that the people named in the list of tax evaders with accounts in Geneva should be arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and asked to produce all their bank statements.

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