60 persons to be prosecuted over black cash stashed abroad

The government has reportedly started legal proceedings against 60 people allegedly holding black money in illegal foreign accounts. The amount kept in these accounts could be more than Rs1,500 crore.

Reports today said tax evasion in these 60 cases has been established through independent investigation by Income Tax authorities.

Some 250 individuals have admitted to having Swiss accounts, and they could face prosecution.

"We will proceed as per law," sources said on a day thousands of names of HSBC clients from some 200 countries were published in the Indian Express in what has been called the "Swiss Leaks."

Some 1,195 names in the HSBC list are Indian whose Swiss account balances add up to Rs25,420 crore, said the newspaper, which partnered in a global project with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Paris-based Le Monde newspaper.

Sources say the Swiss leaks list may have both legal and illegal accounts. Most of the accounts would have been emptied out by now, they say.

In October, a list of 627 names handed over by France to the government in 2011 was submitted to the Supreme Court. Three names were made public - including that of Pradeep Burman of the Dabur Group - in an affidavit to the court after legal proceedings had started against them.

The Supreme Court has set up a special committee to map the recovery of black money. Justice MB Shah, who heads the special committee, had said that the investigations will be completed by 31 March this year, the deadline set by the court.

Sources say more than 200 account holders have given consent letters for investigations. Over 100 accounts had been scrutinised by November.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to bring back "every penny of the poor man's money" stashed abroad as untaxed or black money, saying it was "an article of faith" for him.

But the government claims to have come up against a maze of clauses in international agreements that make it tough to "retrieve black money".