As India continues its pursuit of suspected black money stashed abroad, an international think-tank has ranked it third globally with an estimated USD 94.76 billion (nearly Rs 6 lakh crore) illicit wealth outflows in 2012.
As a result, the cumulative illicit money moving out of the country over a ten-year period from 2003 to 2012 has risen to USD 439.59 billion (Rs 28 lakh crore), as per the latest estimates released by the Global Financial Integrity (GFI).
China is on the top with USD 249.57 billion, followed by Russia with USD 122.86 billion in terms of the quantum of black money moving out of a country for 2012 — the latest year for which these estimates have been made.
The Washington-based research and advocacy group further said that the illicit fund outflows from India accounts for nearly 10 per cent of a record USD 991.2 billion worth illegal capital that moved out of all developing and emerging nations in 2012 to facilitate “crime, corruption, and tax evasion”.
As per GFI’s 2014 Annual Global Update on Illicit Financial Flows report, that the cumulative illicit outflows from developing economies for ten years between 2003 and 2012 stands at USD 6.6 trillion.
This includes USD 439.59 billion worth illicit money that has moved out of India in these ten years, putting the country at fourth position in overall ranking for a decade, after China (USD 1.25 trillion), Russia (973.86 billion) and Mexico (USD514.26 billion).
In these ten years, an average of USD 43.96 billion of black money is being sent out of India every year, GFI said.
The estimate of these huge illegal money flow follows a Supreme Court-constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) tracing Rs 4,479 crore in the accounts of Indians figuring in a list of account holders of HSBC’s Geneva branch.
Besides, the SIT has also disclosed tracing unaccounted wealth worth Rs 14,958 crore within India, which are now being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department.
The issue of black money has been matter of a serious political debate in India, including during the last general elections.
While the new government has said it is committed to tackle this menace, there are no official figures for the overall size of illicit wealth stashed by Indians within the country or abroad.