I-T department discovers Rs 13,000 crore black money stashed in foreign bank accounts

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The income tax authorities have unearthed Rs 13,000 crore of black money from just two sets of information received in 2011 and 2013. According to a report, the government’s crackdown on those holding undisclosed income has yielded hundreds of cases of such income stashed in banks like HSBC, Geneva. The details were received from the French government in 2011, and the unaccounted for income amounts to Rs 8,186 crore.

 

This is the highest ever disclosure from offshore bank accounts. It has raised a tax demand of Rs 5,377 crore against such account holders till March 31, 2016. In the HSBC case, the government had received information about 628 bank accounts. Of these, at least 213 were found "not actionable" as they either had no money in them or they belonged to non-resident Indians. Also, in some cases, the entities remained untraceable.

 

The other set of information disclosed in 2013 appeared on the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). IT officials have discovered undisclosed income of over Rs 5,000 crore in foreign bank accounts of over 700 Indians. So far, the IT department has filed 55 prosecution complaints before criminal courts in the ICIJ cases on charges of wilful attempt to evade tax, says the report.

 

In the HSBC Geneva case on the other hand, prosecution proceedings have been launched in 75 cases. The Enforcement Directorate can now initiate action under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), since the criminal courts have taken cognisance of the matter.

 

There is however, relief for some individuals whose names had appeared on the ICIJ website. They have made declarations under the black money declaration window scheme, which the government had launched for a limited period during 2015. But there will be no respite for those against whom IT authorities have already launched a probe, the report says.

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