Chandigarh 17 : Today is the 37st day of the Jan Chetna Yatra. It will traverse through 22 States and 5 Union territories covering a road distance of about 7600 KM and passing through 100 districts of India. Till now I have covered 21 States and 4 Union Territories including Chandigarh. It will end at Delhi on November, 20th. People everywhere have displayed overwhelming response and support to the Yatra. 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. I have myself noticed this anger in the course of my Jan Chetna yatra.
It is indeed deplorable that while not only powerful countries like USA, Germany, France but even smaller countries like Philipines, Peru, South Korea and Nigeria have taken strong and effective steps in getting the black money deposited in foreign banks; the response of the UPA Government has been of gross indifference.
Why the UPA Government is reluctant to disclose the identity of those persons in respect of whom Government has initiated proceedings for recovery of tax concerning their foreign bank accounts.
Recently France and some other Countries gave the names of many Indians who were having their accounts in Swiss and other foreign banks to the Government of India. To the best of available information these names were not given with any obligation to maintain secrecy. In this view of the matter country is certainly entitled to know their identity. The entire country is agitated and the government’s reluctance only confirms that exposure would cause further embarrassment to it.
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 foreign 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.
The Government must also disclose as to in respect of how many Indians proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act is going on and concerning how many Indians, Swiss Bank and other foreign Bank Authorities have been approached for discloser of their account and with what results.
The record of the UPA government has been very dismal. In fact its bonafide it self is suspect from the very beginning. Recently the Swiss Ambassador to India publicly commented that its government is willing to render all co-operations if the Government of India shows the political will.
When the whole world is proceeding towards openess 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.
In the coming session of the Parliament the issue of black money parked in foreign banks by Indians would be raised effectively demanding appropriate answers from the Government. Most of this money is the fruit of crime and corruption and India now demands answers.
My Jan Chetna Yatra is to restore the self esteem and optimism of Indians in the future of India. The corrupt image acquired of our country, in spite of its vast potential because of misdeeds of some people in Delhi, is not because of the people of India.