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Scrutiny
  
Thanks Ma’am, for not telling us
If US can, Why cannot India Force the Swiss Government to Disclose Names of Indians with Swiss Bank Accounts?
14/10/2010

Apparently, a shocking figure of $1.5 trillion in black money – deposited by Indians – is lying with various Swiss banks (which Swiss Bankers’ Association denies vapidly). This money is equivalent to 13 times more than India’s total debt obligation! Just for the sake of inane calculations, if this excess amount were to be invested as a fixed deposit in India, the interest earned would be more than the Central Government’s annual budget!

But the protagonist of our story is actually the Swiss government. Despite various requests by the Indian government for details of those Indians who maintain Swiss bank accounts, the Swiss government has refused to disclose the same. The Swiss government’s (or rather, the Swiss banks’) record of maintaining secrecy is famous – even the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) that they’ve signed up with India is evidently not sufficient for them to provide the details. This is surprising, as the Swiss establishment had in April 2009 decided to budge and cooperate in allowing a scrutiny of the details of undisclosed account holders after a tougher stand was made by G-20 nations in the London Summit.

In a much publicised case last year, US authorities had compelled UBS (the biggest bank in Switzerland) to reveal the names and details of 300 odd American citizens who were holding bank accounts in the said bank. The US government had even slapped a penalty on the bank to the tune of $780 million for helping the individuals evade tax

And the Indian government? Well, apart from sending cursory emails and diplomatic communiqués, the Indian government itself doesn’t seem to want the details. If they really had wished, the Indian government could have taken up a Swiss government offer last year to rework the India-Switzerland treaty. Guess what, India didn’t!

By:- Sayan Ghosh
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