Following the surprise demonetisation announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, a number of Opposition leaders including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal have accused that the Union government has failed to bring back black money parked by Indians in foreign banks but imposed a “financial emergency” on common citizens of the country. However, PM Modi has said on several occasions that demonetisation is not the end of his government’s efforts to end corruption and recover all black money.
The inconvenience to citizens due to the cash crunch at banks and ATMs across the country is expected to ease down in the next 1-2 weeks. And now there are several speculations about what would be Modi government’s next move in the fight against black money and corruption. While the government has not made any official announcement in this regard, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who is also famous for his court cases against corruption, has given some hints about PM Modi’s next step in the “war” against corruption and black money.
Speaking at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong recently after demonetisation, Swamy talked about four ways in which black money can be brought to India. He said that the “fourth way”, which he termed as the “legalistic way” has attracted the attention of the PM and he expects the PM would take steps in this regard. Swamy also said that he would try this in the ongoing Parliament session.
Here is what he said about the “legalistic way”:
“The fourth way is the legalistic way. And that is the 2005 UN resolution which says that if a country passes a law saying that in secret banking countries, which is about 17 in number, all accounts by Indian citizens are nationalised, then the UN will assist to get all these accounts credited to India. It is a process, so we have to pass that law. This is something which has attracted the Prime Minister’s attention. I have talked to him and I am expecting that this he will do.”
He added: “It may take a couple of years because there will be a lot of litigation. We will have a proviso that if any of the account holders have proof that they have opened their account legally and money there was accountable, then they would be returned.”
The other three “known ways” shared by Swamy were:
1. Bilateral agreements
“With Switzerland, we (India) have mutual assistance pact. But then we have to specify the details of the account and who owns it. And, have a case registered in India. But that’s a painful process.”
2. The German and the French way
“When Chancellor Merkel (of Germany) found that Lichenstein Bank had many Germans having accounts, she asked the governors of Liechtenstein to give the list. They declined saying ‘no this is our business and we will be finished. So, secrecy is important.’ The German government then bribed the senior most official of the Liechtenstein bank. They gave him half-a-billion dollars, a US citizenship and passport and plastic surgery to change his face. And he is now living in the US with a new face and he downloaded the whole list, even Indian names are in it. After Supreme Court of India asked the government to get those names, those names have arrived. They are still in the sealed envelope. The French repeated this in the Hongkong-Shanghai Bank in Geneva. That gave us 887 names. Germans gave us only 24 names.
“Hongkong-Shanghai Bank’s 887 names have not been prosecuted vigorously. But given the new mood of the PM, this will be also pursued.”
3. The American way
“When they (the US government) found that the Americans had bank accounts with Credit Suisse and Union Bank of Switzerland, they arrested the Branch officials of the banks in Washington and the next day, they gave the entire list of names.”