By L K Advani
Apart from corruption, the issue of black money, particularly, huge amount stashed away in foreign banks including, in Swiss Banks, has deeply disturbed and distressed the people of the country. This anger, I have, myself noticed in the course of my Jan Chetna Yatra, where in I have covered 15 states and 1 Union Territory. In all the Yatra will go to 23 states and 5 Union Territories in a span of 38 days covering a road distance of 7600 KM.
Since a long time, I have been demanding that the Government must come out with a white paper as regards the step it has taken to bring back this money which, in majority of the cases is the product of crime and corruption.
There is complete silence from the Government!
Today, I would like to raise certain important questions which the Government must answer.
Powerful countries like USA, Germany, France and even smaller countries like Philippines, Peru and Nigeria have taken a variety of measures to bring back black money parked in foreign bank accounts, with great success.
Why is the UPA Government not prepared to follow the steps they (aforementioned countries) have taken?
USA, Germany, France and UK have invariably entered into agreements and treaties with Switzerland, which help them extract information. USA got information of four thousand account holders form the UBS Bank. Other Countries have also managed to get substantial information.
The nature of agreement, which India has entered into is so worded that the Government takes shelter under it to refuse to extract information. This is also prospective giving scope to the defaulters to withdraw their money.
Few months ago the Swiss Ambassador to India publically stated that if the Government of India shows the political will, the Swiss Government is willing to cooperate.
India today is an important country of the world and is also a part of the G-20. Presently Dr. Manmohan Singh is attending the G-20 summit in France. Why is India reluctant to assert itself in the light of its rising global stature to recover this dirty money?
What is holding back the UPA Government spite of such anger in this country against rank inaction?
When the whole world is proceeding towards openness and disclosure of information, what prevents the Government from disclosing the names of those who have parked this money in foreign banks?
The Government took six years to ratify the U.N. Convention against corruption and invariably the taxation agreements with various countries are being made prospective which will frustrate the very purpose of this exercise.
It is learnt that the names of three Member of Parliament also figure in respect of whom income tax authorities are investigating in connection with Swiss Bank accounts. This is a very serious issue.
This brings the issue of black money close to the political system and it cannot be dealt with only as a tax evasion issue. Full facts in this connection must be made public.
These are important questions and the rank indifference of the Government only shows once again that the UPA Government wants to hide because disclosure will cause embarrassment.
The Government lacks the political will!
Black money has a direct role to play in the pernicious influence of money power in elections which is becoming very deep rooted.
The motto of this Yatra is clean politics and good governance and proper electoral reforms must be initiated to curb the influence of money power. It is essential for democracy.
This Yatra is for regeneration of India!
Author is a veteran BJP Leader and currently Chairman, BJP Parliamentary Party
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