Black money: Jethmalani slams govt stand in Supreme Court

Continuing with his tirade against the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, particularly Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, for saying that the names of alleged holders of foreign accounts having black money couldn’t be shared, Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani Friday said the government’s recent submission in Supreme Court in the matter was “ill-advised”.

The eminent lawyer also suggested that the Centre was using the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAT) as an excuse to avoid revealing the names of those Indians who have black money stashed away in banks abroad.

Earlier this week, the Centre toed the line of the previous UPA regime by informing the apex court that it couldn’t make public such details as have been shared by countries with which India has a double taxation avoidance agreement.

Jethmalani had strongly objected to the stand taken by the Centre and said the matter be not heard.

“Your action in approaching SC with the kind of petition you have filed is one of the most ill-advised steps taken. The DTAA or any equivalent document is not to be used and cannot be used (to not reveal names),” Jethmalani, an expelled BJP member, said in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

He said the black money investigation rested with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the orders of the Supreme Court, adding that it was the government’s duty to “take no steps” without supplying the information to the SIT and taking its permission.

The SIT had been constituted during hearing of the PIL filed by Jethmalani and others.