Black money: Govt reveals names of 18 account holders in Liechtenstein bank

Apr 29 2014, 20:10 IST
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Supreme Court had reproached the Centre over its reluctance to share information received from Germany about individuals stashing money in Liechtenstein Bank. Supreme Court had reproached the Centre over its reluctance to share information received from Germany about individuals stashing money in Liechtenstein Bank.
SummaryHowever, Centre also asked Supreme Court not to make public names of certain other individuals.

After resisting for more than three years, the Centre today revealed names of 18 persons in the Supreme Court who allegedly stashed black money with LST Bank in Liechtenstein and against whom prosecution have been launched by the Income Tax department.

The names, listed in Centre's affidavit, include Mohan Manoj Dhupelia, Ambrish Manoj Dhupelia, Bhavya Manoj Dhupelia, Manoj Dhupelia and Rupal Dhupelia from Ambrunova Trust and Marline Management.

Centre said that IT department also found evidence against four members of Manichi Trust-- Hasmuk Ishwarlal Gandhi, Chintan Hasmukh Gandhi, Madhu Hasmukh Gandhi and Late Mirav Hasmukh Gandhi.

It said that prosecution has been initiated against Chandrakant Ishwarlal Gandhi, Rajest Chandrakant Gandhi, Viraj Chandrakant Gandhi and Dhanalaxmi Chandrakant Gandhi from Ruvisha Trust.

Names of Arunkumar Ramniklal Mehta and Harshad Ramnikal Mehta from Dainese Stiftung and Dryade Satiftunf trust was also mentioned in the list.

K M Mammen from Webster Foundation, Arun Kochhar from Urvashi Foundation and Ashok Jaipuria from Raj Foundation were also named.

Centre also placed in a sealed envelope the names of other individuals with respect of eight other cases in which it found no evidence of tax evasion and asked a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu not to make public those names.

The bench, also comprising justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Madan B Lokur, however, said that it will discuss the content of documents among themselves and will decide the issue on May 1.

Notwithstanding the Supreme Court order in 2011 to make public the names of account holders in LGT bank received by it in 2009 from German tax authorities, Centre has not done so, drawing the ire of the apex court.

"It is respectfully submitted that the information regarding deposits/outstanding amounts in the accounts maintained by 12 trusties/entities with LGT bank in Liechtenstein was received by government from German tax authorities in March 2009 under the Indo-Germany Double Taxation Avoidance Convention.

"The 12 trusts/entitied involved 26 individuals of Indian origin. Out of the 26 cases, investigations in 18 cases have been concluded by the IT department and prosecutions have been launched in 17 cases (one tax payer has expired)," the Centre said in its affidavit.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani seeking directions to the government "to file list of names of those having accounts in Liechtenstein Bank with respect of whom investigations have been concluded, either partially or wholly.

In the meantime, Jethmalani also gave names of former apex court judges who could be considered for the post of Chairman and Vice-chairman of SIT which will be looking into all cases of black money in the country.

The Centre had earlier faced the heat of the apex court for failing to implement its three-year-old directions including setting up of a SIT to probe all cases of black money and disclosing information received from Germany about individuals stashing money in Liechtenstein Bank.

Jethmalani also claimed that he can put on record names of those who have bank accounts in Switzerland and are involved in money laundering.

He further said reports suggest that Indians alone have parked around Rs 19 lakh crore black money abroad.

The bench said it will consider his submission and asked him to be ready with an affidavit on it in the next hearing.

Jethmalani said he was ready with the affidavit and will file it tomorrow so that it could be taken during the hearing on Thursday.

Senior advocate Anil Divan, arguing for Jethmalani, placed in a sealed cover the names of three former Supreme Court judges, who could be considered for appointment as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Special Investigating Team (SIT) to carry out the investigation into the black money issue as per the direction of apex court's July 4, 2011 judgement.

At the outset, the bench also said that it has received a letter from Justice B P Jeevan Reddy, former apex court judge, who was appointed as the head of the SIT but later expressed his inability to continue.

It said the contents of the letter cannot be disclosed.

The bench had asked both the Centre and petitioners to discuss and come out with the name of a former apex court judges who would agree to head the SIT.

The bench was informed that former apex court judge M B Shah, who has been appointed Vice Chairman of the SIT, has agreed to continue.

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