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SIT Probe: Banks in all tax havens will fall in line, says Justice Pasayat

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury 

Bhubaneswar, June 23:

With Switzerland readying a list of Indians suspected to have stashed  un-taxed money in Swiss banks, vice-chairman of Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted to unearth black money abroad, Justice Arijit Pasayat today said other countries will also fall in line and share the bank details of the black money, deposited by Indians, with the Government of India.

Justice Arijit Pasayat
Justice Arijit Pasayat

“Swiss bank is one of the tax havens for such deposits and there are so many others. But the common perception is that it has the largest stashed deposits. Now, once the large fish comes forward, all of them will fall in line. Once the message goes that you can not avoid the SIT and the government, they will fall in line. I am very hopeful that other countries will follow suit,” Justice Pasayat told odishasuntimes on Monday.

When asked about the possibility of international laws posing barriers in the effort to trace the black money stashed away in foreign countries, he said, “If it would not pose any problem for Switzerland, why should it cause problems for other countries ? ”

The retired Supreme Court judge said the move of the Swiss bank is a welcome measure and would certainly help the ongoing SIT probe.

“It is a very welcome measure. It would help us to a great extent and be a remarkable achievement for all of us involved in the process. Once we get appropriate information, naturally we would take suitable action. We are very hopeful we would achieve the expected results,” said Justice Pasayat.

He said that the willingness of the Swiss banks authorities to share details has sent out a strong message to the tax evaders.

“I think the message has gone that you can not take things for granted. You are accountable and will continue to be accountable until and unless you voluntarily come forward and say I surrender. ‘Surrender’ here is not what it means in the army parlance,  but it is like saying, look I perform my duty as a good citizen of the country. You can earn more and as much as you can but you have pay the tax for it. Nobody is asking anyone to pay more than is legitimate,” said the vice-chairman of the SIT.

He, however, refused to divulge details on the SIT probe and coordination with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in getting back the black money from banks in other countries.

The names of certain Indians and entities came under the scanner of the Swiss authorities during an ongoing exercise to identify the real beneficiaries/owners of funds held in various banks operating in Switzerland. The list of such persons and entities is being shared with India, while further details would also be provided in due course.

The development comes at a time when the official data published by Switzerland’s central bank, SNB, has shown that Indian money in various Swiss banks rose by 43 per cent during 2013- to close to Rs 14,000 crore- including the money held directly by Indian clients and through fiduciaries or wealth managers.