The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it could not divulge the names of secret foreign bank account holders in Switzerland and other tax havens.
In an application filed before the apex court, the government said foreign countries had refused to disclose any such information and if such details were disclosed, no country would sign the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with India.
It also requested the apex court to recall its 2011 order to make public the names of all tax evaders who had illegally stashed away their wealth in foreign banks. The Congress was quick to attack the government asking for an apology.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, fixed October 28 as the next date of hearing of the application. Appearing before a bench headed by the CJI, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi pleaded for an urgent hearing.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani strongly objected to the stand taken by the Centre. Matter should not be entertained even for a day. Such application should have been made by the culprits and not by the government, Mr Jethmalani said.
He charged the Centre with trying to protect the people who had stashed black money in foreign banks. The government had constituted a high-powered Committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge M B Shah to collect details about such black money stashed away in foreign banks.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said if the government had slightest bit of political honesty, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the nation.
He said Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev and Kiran Bedi, who took part of the anti-corruption agitation against the UPA government, should launch a similar stir against the BJP-led government now.
Earlier, AICC spokesperson and former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, The BJP Government should either back out from the treaty signed with the foreign countries or apologise to the nation.
After imposing many accusations on us when we were in power, they are mentioning the same treaty. Now, either they should back out from treaty and live upto expectations of people or apologise for putting allegations on us, Mr Khurshid told reporters .
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