Swiss authorities have no info on cash stashed by Indians: Jaitley

Switzerland's central bank has told India four days ago that it has no list of Indian tax residents holding assets in Swiss banks in either their own name or through structures, finance minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha today.

However, he added that the Swiss National Bank has reported on its website that the total deposits of Indians in their banks have increased by about Rs14,100 crore at the end of 2013 from about Rs8,547 crore a year earlier.

In a written reply, Jaitley said that the government wrote to the Swiss authorities on 23 June this year after it was reported in the media that Indians had large sums of money stashed in Swiss banks.

In the letter under the provisions of Article 26 of the Direct Tax Avoidance Convention (DTAC), the government had asked Switzerland information in this regard that has been compiled by it.

"The Swiss authorities in their reply dated 4 July 2014 have stated that there is no list of Indians tax residents holding assets in Swiss financial institutions in their own names or through structures," he said.

He said following amendments to the DTAC with Switzerland on 7 October 2011, India has made several requests seeking information about its nationals holding bank accounts in Swiss Banks.

"There has been a positive response to some requests, where information has been provided subject to the confidentiality clause in the said DTAC. In other cases, the Swiss government has not been providing the information requested citing restriction imposed by their domestic laws," he said.

On steps being taken to bring back black money stashed abroad, Jaitley said the finance ministry has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court judge M B Shah, and its work is in progress.