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Swiss tax treaty is a scandal, farce, say critics

In International on October 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Swiss tax treaty is a scandal, farce, say critics
YATISH YADAV  NEW DELHI | 2nd Oct

President Pratibha Patil is welcomed by Mark Muller, President of the Council of State Geneva on her arrival in Geneva on Friday. Patil will discuss black money during the visit.

he double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) between India and Switzerland, which is being showcased by the UPA government as an example of its willingness to tackle the problem of black money, will neither unmask tax evaders nor shed any light on the amount of black money stashed in Swiss banks. The agreement, which comes into effect from 7 October, does not let the Swiss share with India any information prior to January 2011.

Former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash Kashyap, who is one of the petitioners in the black money case in the Supreme Court, described this provision in the agreement as a tool to safeguard the interests of the people close to the government in power. “This is a futuristic treaty. I fail to understand why this term has been inserted. It is a big scandal and shows that they have some selfish motive and government is not at all serious about it,” he said.

According to Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Vinod Saighal, convener of the Movement for Restoration of Good Government (MRGG), in its present form, the treaty will only have “prospective applicability”, that is, it will be applicable only on future cases. It would not have “retrospective applicability”, that is it will not have any impact on past cases, or will make retrospective applicability more difficult. “If this is correct then it would amount to whitewashing the criminal actions of the biggest offenders. They will get away scot-free, with hardly any prospect of recovering the illegal funds stashed abroad. The impression gaining ground is that the biggest offenders at the apex of governance have so orchestrated the treaty that they and their families can never be prosecuted.”

Swiss tax treaty is a scandal, farce, say critics.

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