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Stop evading black money issue: Shourie

Stop evading black money issue: Shourie

Author: Our Political Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: April 20, 2009
URL: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Stop-evading-issue-of-black-money-Shourie-to-Cong/rssarticleshow/4422552.cms

Introduction: BJP Leader Believes This Is Right Time To Get India's Own Stolen Wealth Back

BJP on Sunday asked Congress to 'stop quibbling' and initiate measures to get back India's black money from tax havens. In a point by point rebuttal of Congress' defence, BJP leader Arun Shourie said the ruling side should explain why it has not taken any action even after the German government offered to furnish the names that it had obtained on its own.

Reacting to the Congress' poser on the timing of taking up the issue, Mr Shourie said L K Advani had taken up the matter with the prime minister a year ago by writing to him.

"The reply that the then finance minister sent him showed that the government intended to do little except keep going through the pretence of taking some steps. Soon thereafter, we were alarmed to learn that a senior official of the finance ministry had written to the then Indian ambassador in Germany not to press the Germans for release of the names of Indians in the list that they had obtained from Liechtenstein-lest the Germans take offence and conclude that they were being pressured and their bona fides were being questioned."

He said a unique opportunity has arisen only now as western economies have found themselves in a severe crisis. The crisis has forced countries like Germany, France, the US and the UK to take the leadership role in G-20 and pledge to get their stolen wealth back from tax havens. "The BJP believes that this is the right time for India to join the global effort to get its own stolen wealth back," Mr Shourie said.

Contesting Congress' claim that the G-20 meeting was not the proper forum for taking up the issue, Mr Shourie said: "This customarily self-serving rationalisation was put out by one of Congress party's lawyers and spokesmen. At the same time, the party was trying to insinuate that, actually speaking, the prime minister had taken up the matter at the G-20 Summit. As its spokesmen could not point to any statement he made either at the summit itself or even at the press meet he held after the summit, they drew solace from a passing reference to the matter in the speech he had made at the dinner hosted by British PM Gordon Brown."

"The Congress is relying on the short memory of its audience. The fact of the matter is that no one had been pressing more for the replacement of the harsh provisions of Fera than the Congress itself. The changes were being contemplated since 1996. The demand for doing away with the harsh provisions came to a crescendo during the government of V P Singh when Fera came to be used for interrogating captains of industry under harsh circumstances," the BJP leader claimed.

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