After the suspended BJP MP Ram Jethmalani shot a number of questions at the BJP, the finance minister, Arun Jaitley briefed Rajya Sabha on the progress of recovery of black money from foreign bank accounts. During the question hour Jaitley informed that the government had completed investigations against people named in HSBC and Liechtenstein banks and made an assessment totaling around Rs 15,000 crore.
This followed Ram Jethmalani’s accusation that the finance ministry is misleading the house in almost 30 minutes of bitter exchanges between the two. Famous lawyer, Jethmalani had asked the government whether any efforts were being made by the government to get the names of black money holders offered by Germany. While the opposition accused the government of not doing anything except making false promises, the government said several steps have been taken including enactment of new laws. On that Arun Jaitley had said that investigation against 628 persons named in the HSBC list has been completed, an assessment to the tune of Rs 8,437 crore in 409 of these cases made and 119 prosecutions filed against them. The government has also assessed each of those named by Liechtenstein Bank and an assessment of around Rs 6,500 crore undeclared income has been made, he said.
Jethmalani had been very bitter in his attacks and said that all the members must be expelled, if charges of holding black money is proved against them. Jethmalani said as he sought silence in the House, to which the chair said it is an “interesting suggestion but cannot be implemented”. Chairman Hamid Ansari kept telling the ruling party members, “You are ministers. You can’t do it [stand up and protest].”
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When asked about the money that had come into the banks after demonetisation, Jaitley said, that no definitive estimates could be made at this stage. But it is true that large amounts of cash money operating in the system does result in generation of black money.That money has now been identified with the owner of those accounts and hopefully, a larger number of transactions through banks post this would now be inevitably possible., said Mr Jaitley.