Black money: Govt submits names of 18 holders of foreign accounts to SC

After resisting the Supreme Court for over three years, the government today finally submitted before the Supreme Court names 18 individuals who have allegedly stashed away black money in overseas tax havens and documents relating to their accounts at the LGT Bank in Liechtenstein, Germany.

Supreme Court The government had in 2009 received information about 12 trusts that maintained accounts with LGT Bank. These 12 entities involved 26 individuals of Indian origin.

The government said out of 26 cases, the income tax department has concluded investigations in 18 cases and launched prosecution in 17 cases, while the 18th had passed away.

The attorney for the government said the information shared by the German government was confidential and could be used only for investigating tax frauds.

However, since the apex court demanded details of the document, it is submitting the details, he added.

The Supreme Court had, on 22 April, berated the government for failing to implement its 2010 directives, including the setting up of an SIT to probe all cases of black money and disclosing information received from Germany about individuals stashing money in Liechtenstein Bank.

"It is totally contempt of our directions," a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu had said. The bench also disapproved the contention of solicitor general Mohan Parasaran that all the directions in 4 July 2011 judgement were inter-connected and hence the delay in disclosure of the names, which could be done only after the investigation by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

"In our view, the judgement has to be read disjunctively and not conjectively," the bench comprising justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Madan B Lokur, had said.

Meanwhile, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Tuesday India and Switzerland were discussing ways to share data on money stashed away in the country. He also claimed to have received a reply to his letter from his Swiss counterpart.

The government said no evidence of tax evasion has been found in 8 cases and documents pertaining to them were also handed over to the top court.