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Foolish to expect black money still stashed away in Swiss Banks: Hegde

Key Team Anna member N Santosh Hegde has said that it's foolish to expect blackmoney stashed away in Swiss banks by Indians as they would have "cleaned out" by now and transferred it to other tax havens.

"I am quite sure that money (blackmoney) is not there in Swiss banks", the former Supreme Court judge said here. "I am quite confident (about it) because there is no restraint on depositors to take the money away from there. I am sure they would have transferred it to other tax havens".

But he said that the government should get from Swiss authorities the names of Indians who have kept their money there, which would be a "strong piece of evidence" against them in terms of contravention of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and tax evasions. "That's an offence by itself".

The former Karnataka Lokayukta added: "...the way they (the government) are dragging their feet (on the issue of blackmoney)... itself shows big people are there involved in stashing away slush money".

Santosh Hegde

Hegde said he has no doubt that Indian offenders would have "cleaned out" their blackmoney in Swiss banks, adding, it would be foolish on their part if they still kept it there.

He recalled that the Swiss government had disclosed in October 2008 itself that Swiss banks are holding USD 1,456 billion (overall global figure).

"Now to say that it's still there...it's foolish", he said. If India is able to get the names of offenders and their account details,it will enable the Government to proceed against them and trace the money that was transferred," Hegde added.

Agencies