(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)
In this country there is a paradoxical situation where farmers are committing suicide, rural people in distress, people losing their livelihood and few becoming rich through largescale corruption and stashing away ill-gotton money in German and Swiss banks in Liechtenstein Island.
Recently there has been a saga of corruption just to mention a few instances relating to the Commonwealth Games, allocation 2-G Spectrum, appointment of CVC chairman and disclosures of Nira Radia tapes. The government's premier investigating agency, CBI is engaged in a cover up game and the government has no guts to allow free and fair investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The ill-gotton money is now being stashed away in 15 banks in Liechtenstein Island, out of which seven are Swiss. Noted lawyer, Ram Jethmalani who has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court has estimated $1500 billion illegally stashed away in LGT and other foreign banks. The Global Financial Integrity has estimated the amount at $462 billion.
According to Jethmalani if the total ill-gotton money is brought back it would wipe out all the debts of the country, each family would get Rs 2.5 lakh each and there would be a tax-free Budget for next 30 years.
The government, however, has the details of depositors of the ill-gotton money and is unwilling to make it public claiming that the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Germany would come in the way of making the information public. If this is so then why the government in a democracy should strike an agreement with any other country which compells it to withold informations of genuine public importance and concern.
The government has submitted the documents to the apex court under a sealed cover and has requested not to disclose the contents to the petitioner. But the government's contention is being challeged as Liechtenstein island is an independent principality monarchy in Europe and the DTAA with Germany would not come in the way of public discloure if the government opts to source information directly from Liechtenstein Monarchy.
Other view is that the DTAA should not come in the way when transactions concerned only Indians. DTAA comes into play when transactions are between German and Indian entities.
The US Administration has recently been successfuly in getting back the ill-gotton money from these banks. Why can't India garner this courage and competance.
(Editorial : Kisan Ki Awaaz Magazine)