Arun Jaitley cites tax pact with Germany to buttress govt stand

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 18 2014, 06:37am hrs
Arun JaitleyArun Jaitley cited the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement signed between India and Germany in June, 1995.
On a day when the government told the apex court that it can't make public information on black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks because tax treaties with the countries constrain such revelation, and came under attack by the Opposition for its reluctance to fulfill a poll promise in this regard, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government indeed had no difficulty in divulging the information provided due process of law was followed.

He cited the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement signed between India and Germany in June, 1995, when a Congress government was in power for its inability to reveal details of doubtful financial accounts held by Indians in overseas banks until and unless charges have been filed in Indian courts.

Claiming a breakthrough with the Switzerland authorities on them sharing with New Delhi details of Indians' accounts in Swiss banks, the holders' names were obtained by India earlier, Jaitley said, adding the Swiss government would now give details of the accounts on which India has conducted investigation and gathered independent evidence but require information from the European country for completing the due process. The absolute prohibition (with regard to revealing of information) by Swiss authorities no longer exists, the minister said. Earlier, the Swiss government had refused to provide details of HSBC a/c details. Jaitley said India and Switzerland decided to start talks on entering into a bilateral pact for automatic exchange of information, adding Swiss Federal Tax Administration would be willing to verify the genuineness of documents with India on Indian holders in that countrys banks in a time-bound manner.