There is a debate on how to get back black money held abroad by Indians. Some want it to be declared a national asset. Some say it is red money acquired through crimes like drug trade. Some say there is more black money in India than abroad. The amount of black money is a conjecture. Some mention 25 lakh crore rupees. BJP blames Congress for not doing enough to get back black money and wants the names of 782 account holders given by France revealed. Congress blames BJP that it did nothing when it was in power. Some say getting money is more important than knowing names.
A person who has earned money legitimately should be free to keep it in bank in India or abroad. India allows Non-Resident External accounts. Trusts and NGOs can receive foreign money. Many foreign account holders have RBI permission which should not be a requisite for keeping money abroad. Getting money and knowing names are equally important and it is not an either or situation.
There is a simple way to get back black money held abroad. The finance minister of India should make a declaration. â€œWe want rupee to equal American dollar in 50 days, euro in 70 days, British pound in 80 days, Kuwaiti dinar in 170 days and thereafter remain the strongest currency in the world. To achieve this we will sell one billion or more dollars per day. On Mondays we will sell two billion dollars or more.â€ This will scare people who have black money abroad and they will get back the money through various ways. With 300 billion dollars in foreign exchange reserves selling one billion dollars per day is not a problem. Petrol prices and inflation will come down.
The government may consider amnesty to people who have black money abroad like voluntary disclosure schemes for Income Tax evaders we had in the past.
Ram Jethmalani has consistently contradicted BJPâ€™s stand. He had quit BJP and contested against Atal Behari Vajpayee. BJP took him back and made him a Rajya Sabha member. He continued in his ways. He took up cases against BJP governments or policies. He appeared for Binayak Sen against Chhattisgarh government. BJP wants death penalty for terrorists. He takes up their cases. BJP accuses UPA of corruption in 2G spectrum allocation. He took up Kanimozhiâ€™s case. Now in cash-for-votes case he has taken the defence of Amar Singh and has argued that the money might have come from BJP. Instead of taking disciplinary action BJP is quiet with the lame excuse that he is expressing his clientâ€™s views. BJPâ€™s statements on terror and corruption sound hollow. BJP seems to be consumed with death wish.
Amar Singh is out of jail without bail. He is in hospital.
BJP has expelled members for minor offences or sometimes for no offence at all. It expelled Jaswant Singh without reading his book. It did not give him an opportunity to defend himself.
Lal Krishna Advani has claimed responsibility for the sting operation. Two BJP members are in jail for receiving money even though they showed it in Lok Sabha. Delhi police did not treat them as whistleblowers. Bangaru Laxman can go to court saying people who gave him money are guilty and should be charged for impersonation, cheating and giving money. He did not ask money. He did not promise anything. The impostors told the money was for New Yearâ€™s party. Tehelka wanted to trap Jaya Jaitly but did not succeed. She told the impostors to give money to the treasurer. MPs who were expelled from Lok Sabha for taking money to ask questions and allot money under MPLADS can ask for prosecutions of people who gave them money.
Ram Jethmalani has turned BJP into a joke. If BJP is serious it should expel Ram Jethmalani and issue him a notice for retraction failing which it will sue for damages for besmirching its reputation. Otherwise people will call it a party of jokers.
Wikileaks has made public the names of Indians who have black money in Swiss banks and LGT Bank, Liechtenstein. There are main accounts and sub accounts. Nira Radia has 289990 crore rupees. If she is not an Indian citizen she cannot be prosecuted.
Some account holders are businessmen. Naresh Goyal, Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh are mentioned. Politicians include Rajiv Gandhi (19800 crore rupees), Sharad Pawar, Karunanidhi, Stalin, Chidambaram, A. Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, Laloo Prasad Yadav, H. D. Kumaraswamy and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Rajiv Gandhi died in 1991. Who operated his accounts after that is not mentioned.
TV channels did not report the event. The channels had devoted lot of time for diplomatic cables. Even if they gave prominence to Anna Hazareâ€™s fast for Lokpal Bill it defies comprehension that they did not even mention about account holders. Some months back Times Now was eager to reveal the names when they became public but was quiet when names became known. May be the owners of TV channels have black money in Swiss banks. May be politicians and businessmen have used all means to silence the media.
As per The Sunday Express report dt. 7/8/2011 France had given to India list of 700 HSBC accounts in Geneva, Switzerland. Names of account holders have not been made public.
By this time all money could have disappeared from those accounts and moved to other places like Cayman Islands, Mauritius and Singapore. Rudolf Elmer had given the names to Julian Assange in January 2011. Switzerland will not give details of past accounts.
Since the account holders are in power or have access to people in power it is tough to prosecute them. It will be possible to prosecute them once they are out of power or have no access to people in power.