The Narendra Modi government, which came under tremendous attack from opposition parties on black money issue in Parliament and outside, sought to give a new twist to the raging debate and said there was "a weakness in law" to bring the money stashed overseas.
"I admit that there is a weakness in law. If the black money stashed abroad has to come, how will it come? Even the SIT is worried about this," the Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley said in his reply to the marathon two-day debate on the politically sensitive issue in Lok Sabha.
In the debate marked by allegations and counter allegations and wherein BJP members linked black money to the hyped Saradha chit fund scam in
West Bengal, the
Finance Minister, however, explained this does not mean information will never
come out. "..... but how it will come out, we will file cases
and in a court, information can become public. If we make it public
before that, it is violation of that treaty".
Mr Jaitley was responding to repeated but pointed questions as to how soon the black money could be brought back. The opposition members like M. Kharge (Congress) and Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC) more than once asked FM to reply as to how could the money be brought back.
They alleged that the BJP-led dispensation has failed to keep the electoral promise that within 100 days of its coming to power the black money would be brought back. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu strongly contended that the BJP never made such promise and quoted BJP-Election Manifesto to strengthen his argument that the saffron party's only pledge was to "initiate concrete steps" in getting the money from abroad and book the culprits.
Members of Congress and Trinamul Congress staged a walkout saying they were not satisfied with the FM's reply. Similar walkout was marked earlier during Rajya Sabha debate on previous day too.
Before walking out of Lok Sabha, Leader of Congress in the House Malllikarjun Kharge said he was "dissatisfied" as the Finance Minister was only talking about procedural matters which he had already stated and which even the UPA regime used to point out.
Prior to that FM told Kharge, "The same court instruction applied to the UPA regime, for 3 years you did not act on a court order of 2011 till May 2014. .....you never wanted to make a SIT".
Mr Kharge had said the government must tender an apology for making false promise of bringing back the money in 100 days. "You knew the money cannot come still you misled the country," Kharge said attributing to PM Narendra Modi's pre-election speeches across the country.
The FM said the government is moving in the right direction and no stone will be left unturned to bring back the black money.
"We will make all efforts... whatever time is required and till we get onto the last account holder.....I am confident we will bring back the black money," Jaitley said.
He said with an aim of improving the environment for investments, the government is taking steps to ensure a "tax friendly regime" to correct the country's image which had become "bad" over the years. "Our tax system has to be friendly with tax payers and that is what we are trying to do step by step," he said.
Referring to the issue of confidentiality of information in the treaties signed with various countries, he said Indian laws should be in harmony with international jurisprudence. The Minister said if India does not sign the proposed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of the US, then remittances would be subject to 30 per cent withholding tax and India will not get information from the US or other countries signing the agreement.
Tail Piece: Black Money = Black Umbrellas= Black shawls
The BJP and Trinamul Congress members debated over Saradha chit fund scam raucously in the lower House of Parliament with the saffron party MP, Mr Anurag Thakur alleging that those who “earned black money” come to Parliament with “black umbrellas only to mislead people”.
Participating in the debate on Black Money, Thakur attacked Trinamul Congress, who has been at the vanguard of attack against government on black money, and said before discussing the black money abroad, one should also first talk about what is happening within the country.
“CBI will bring out the truth….we are waiting for the day,” he said referring to various charges on the Saradha Ponzi scam against ministers in
government. He also raked up the issue of exorbitant price paid for Mamata
Banerjee’s paintings and wondered, “why her paintings did not sell so costly
“Why the Chief Minister (Mamata) had ordered that all schools and libraries in
Bengal should have the newspapers from a particular
group,” he said.
TMC floor leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay challenged Thakur for an exclusive debate on Saradha scandal and said the BJP member could give a separate notice for such a debate.
"You must not forget Sardha owner (Sudipto Sen) was arrested by Mamata Banaerjee (Bengal police) from
Kashmir,” he said. (ends)