Have BJP's white lies on black money been nailed?

Have BJP's white lies on black money been nailed?

By: || Updated: 29 Oct 2014 03:39 AM
The BJP once again finds itself on the receiving end of the Supreme Court's ire. This time around, it is on the issue of black money, which was perhaps one of the most important campaign planks of Mr.Modi during the previous Lok Sabha elections.

 

 

 

So let us examine factually, the shifting stands of Mr.Modi and the BJP on this issue, before and after the general elections, which has resulted in the Supreme Court making a bunch of scathing remarks.

 

 

Stand in the years before and during the run-up to the 2014 election campaign:

 

1) “The government’s argument that it can reveal the names to the Supreme Court but not to the public due to double taxation is baseless.” - Shri Ravishankar Prasad in January 2011

 

2) “Any reluctance in declaring the names of Swiss bank account holders will simply raise doubts about the integrity of people at the helm.” -Shri Nitin Gadkari in January 2011

 

3) BJP has launched a nationwide campaign against black money through its yatra against led by Shri. L K Advani and it made black money one of the main issue in the 2009 elections. We reiterate our stand against the black money and our resolve to bring it back through necessary legal and other decisions.- ECONOMIC RESOLUTION PASSED IN BJP NATIONAL COUNCIL MEETING AT RAMLILA GROUND, NEW DELHI on  18 January 2014

 

4) "Black money would be brought back within 100 days if the party was voted to power" - Rajnath Singh on 17th April 2014

 

5) “The government has consistently failed to bring back Indian black money. This is because the government is merely engaged in cover-up. The government is trying to justify this by saying it has signed double taxation avoidance agreements with these countries" - Prakash Javdekar in July 2011

 

6) "Baba Ramdev was only going to villages and cities to create awareness on Blackmoney and promised to bring our money back but UPA opposed it" - Modi in 2013

 

7) Tweets by Mr.Modi in addition to 300 speeches during the campaign where he promised that every Indian would get Rs15 lakhs into his account if all the black money returned back to India.

 

“why is the Money Laundering Act not being used to track black money abroad” - February 2011

 

 “We truly respect issues @yogrishiramdev raises, be it stopping corruption & bringing back black money...’’ on March 23, 2014; 

 

“...NDA will bring back every paisa that is stashed abroad’’ on March 30, 2014

 



 

Stand after May 2014 by the BJP led government:

 

1) "We have no difficulty in making names public. But they can be made public only in accordance with due process of law. And the due process of law has been constrained by DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) which was entered into between India and Germany when the Congress Party was in power on June 19, 1995" - FM Arun Jaitley on 17th October 2014

 

2) "Under the terms of the treaties, the information can be quoted from the court files or decisions but no directions can be given to the government to disclose all documents or information received." - Pg. 18 of the affidavit filed by the BJP government in Supreme Court in the Black money case recently.

 

The 360 degree turn taken by the BJP on the issue of black money is evident. Yet, the BJP continues to perpetrate some white lies on this which have been busted by the stinging observations of the Supreme court yesterday.

 

Lie No.1: BJP government in its first cabinet meeting itself constituted the SIT (Special Investigating Team) to unearth black money. There is no doubt when it comes to the intention of the BJP!

 

Truth: The Central government was constrained by the compulsory order of the Supreme Court delivered in May 2014 to do so. It had no option and chose to make a virtue out of a necessity! 

 

 

Lie No.2: Process of law has been constrained by DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) which was entered into between India and Germany when the Congress Party was in power on June 19, 1995

 

Truth: 14 such DTAA agreements that included the confidentiality clause, which is now being used as an excuse by the BJP government itself were concluded by the NDA government during 1998-2004 when Mr.Jaitley was the Law Minister! The BJP never thought of amending the confidentiality clause even while amending the 3 DTAA agreements during their previous regime, including the one with Switzerland! Moreover, in July, 2011 the Supreme Court in its order had said that the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) doesn’t deter the Government to disclose the name of account holders who have stashed black money abroad. (Para 56)

 

Lie No.3: The BJP government has shown intent and demonstrated action by disclosing three names out of 800 odd names!

 

Truth: Even though Mr.Jaitley tried to use innuendo to suggest that Congress would be embarrassed if names of black money account holders was revealed, for some inexplicable reason he chose to disclose three names, which seem to be at best the tip of the tip of the imaginary ice-berg he had conjured up. The truth is that the Congress party did much more. 

In April 2014, the UPA government disclosed to the SC the names of 26 people who had accounts in banks in Liechtenstein, as revealed to India by German authorities. In the HSBC list of 628 names, which was also procured during the UPA regime, 613 are individuals and 15 are entities — 122 names are repeated.The Income-Tax investigation, which started in July 2011, has resulted in search and seizures in 142 cases, surveys in 8, open enquiries in 418, suo motu cases in 17, and discreet enquiries in 4 cases. Far more than what BJP government has achieved in last 5 months.

 

 

Lie No.4: The BJP government has no qualms in disclosing account holder's names to the Supreme Court. Had already provided the list to the SIT in June 2014!

 

Truth: If the BJP has no qualms, as they claim, why the reluctance in sharing with the SC what they share with the SIT, formed on the orders of the SC? What has the SIT, which consists of bureaucrats from the Government of India, who individually achieved nothing, done or achieved after receiving the names in June 2014? Why did the BJP government seek to modify the 2011 order of the Supreme Court requiring disclosure of the names if they had no issues?

 

Perhaps, this is the reason why the Supreme Court made some stinging remarks directed towards Mr.Modi's government asking why the government was providing a "protective umbrella" to foreign bank account holders? Frustrated with the government's efforts including that of the SIT, the judges observed "We can't leave the issue of bringing back black money to the government. It will never happen during our time." Now that sounds like a vote of no-confidence being expressed against the BJP government!

 

Today, on 29th October 2014, the Supreme Court has ordered the BJP government to submit all the names of account holders in its possession. Will be interesting to see if the BJP spin doctors, after this white wash on the issue of Black money, can take credit for this too! 

 

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