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Centre discloses three names in black money case to Supreme Court

 
The Union Government today filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in which it has disclosed the names of three persons whose names have figured in a list of people with foreign bank accounts as part of investigations into wealth allegedly stashed abroad by tax evaders and others.
 
The three names are those of Pradeep Burman, a former executive of the Dabur Group, Radha Timblo of a Goa-based mining company and Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya, a businessman based in Rajkot, Gujarat.
 
Reacting to the disclosure, the Dabur Group clarified that Mr Burman does not hold any executive position in the company.
 
“The Burman family is committed to the highest standards of corporate governance, and encourage ethical behaviour at all levels," a spokesperson for the group said.
 
"We wish to state that this account was opened when he was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account. We have followed all the laws and the complete details regarding the account have been voluntarily, and as per law, filed with the Income Tax Department, and appropriate taxes paid, wherever applicable. 
 
"Therefore, it is unfortunate that every person having a foreign bank account is being painted with the same brush," he added.
 
Mr Lodhiya also told journalists who approached him outside his shop in Rajkot said that he had no foreign bank account at all and had no clue about how his name had appeared on the list.
 
He said that Income Tax authorities had conducted a search at his firm about 18 months ago when he had furnished all the details of all his business transactions to them.
 
In Margao, Ms Timblo said that she would make a detailed statement after she had seen the affidavit by the government. "I don't have to say anything now. Let me see the affidavit and I will then make a detailed explanation through a press note," she said to reporters outside her office.
 
The government has indicated in the past that it would reveal more names as and when prosecution is launched against the people concerned.
 
The Centre had told the Supreme Court recently that, under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) signed by it with various countries,  it could not disclose all the names on the list until charges are framed against them in court.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had attracted a lot of criticism from the opposition Congress and other parties which accused it of going back on its election promise of bringing back black money from abroad within 100 days of assuming office.
Centre reveals eight names from Black Money list in affidavit to SC
Later, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in a television interview that the government would disclose some names to the Supreme Court soon and that the disclosure would embarrass the Congress. To this, the Congress had asked the BJP to desist from "blackmail" and disclose all the names.
 
Mr Jaitley also indicated in another interview that the name of a senior Congress leader was on that list and that the person could be a former UPA Minister. "I am not denying or confirming it, I am only smiling," he had said in that interview.
 
In response, Mr Jaitley's predecessor P Chidambaram had told a television channel that if it turns out that a senior Congress leader's name is on the list of those with illegal wealth stashed abroad, it would basically embarass that person and not the party.
 
"I don't expect Mr Arun Jaitley to make a trivial comment. He's the Finance Minister of India. He's not likely to make a trivial comment, but I think the purpose of that comment was to move from black money to what a friend of mine said, blackmail," he said.
 
"Release it, why say it? Why this promotion?...just release the name," he had said.

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