NewZNew (New Delhi) : The Centre today named before the Supreme Court two persons and a company for allegedly stashing untaxed or black money in foreign accounts. Pradip Burman of the Dabur India group, five members from Goa-based mining firm Timblo and Rajkot-based bullion trader Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya were named in the government’s affidavit on black money in court. The government reportedly said prosecution has been launched against these people for unaccounted money in their foreign accounts.
Dabur, one of India’s top consumer goods companies, has said that Pradip Burman’s account is legal and that it is “unfortunate” that every foreign account holder is being painted with the same brush. “We wish to state that this account was opened when he was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account. We have followed all the laws and the complete details regarding the account have been voluntarily, and as per law, filed with the Income Tax Department, and appropriate taxes paid,” Dabur said in a statement. Pankaj Lodhiya also denied any wrongdoing, saying, “I do not have any Swiss account. I have declared all assets and I have not been served any notice.”
In its affidavit, the government told the court that it has no intention of withholding names and names would be revealed in cases where tax evasion was established. “Every foreign account held by an Indian may not be illegal and names cannot be disclosed unless there is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing,” the affidavit stated. The government had faced opposition criticism when it earlier told the court that tax treaties don’t allow the disclosure of names till charges are framed in court. The Congress then alleged that the BJP’s promise of bringing back black money to India within 100 days of coming to power was bluster.
Today’s disclosure of names comes as sources suggest that four Congress leaders, including a former junior minister, are under investigation.