[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]n pursuit of black money stashed by Indian nationals in foreign banks, the Government has reached out to HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani but refused to accept any precondition set by him for sharing information. In a skype interaction with the Indian media on Monday, Falciani offered to help the government with the black money probe , but sought protection against arrest if he arrived in the country.
Pointing out that a “lot of information” on the black money was lying unused, Falciani claimed that “millions of crores worth of illicit funds” are flowing out of India. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley disclosed to reporters on Tuesday that that the government’s representative has met with Falciani and offered a reward in exchange for information.
“Whoever has whatever details, he or she should give to us instead of putting any pre-conditions,”
– Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India
“Government of India is making all efforts to bring the details (of black money accounts). The numbers of prosecutions that we launched in last one year were not done earlier.”
“Whoever has whatever details, he or she should give to us instead of putting any pre-conditions,” Jaitley said addressing a curtain raiser press conference on IFFI where he was asked about Falcini,” Jaitley said.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]n Switzerland, Falciani is facing charges of leaking details of bank account holders in Geneva branch of HSBC. The list, including the names of the Indian account holders of black money, landed with the French government, which shared it with India.
Falciani on Monday denied he was looking for money to share the information on black money. “It is not about money. I don’t intend to become rich,” Falciani said, adding, “”We need just simple protection.”
“We are not protected… If I am coming to India, I will be arrested,” he said, adding that people need to understand that there are not many new ways to probe and combat the menace of black money.
The Government is under severe pressure to get cracking on the black money issue which has become a political hot potato in the country with the Opposition attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over delay in taking steps to identify and punish the culprits. Jaitley advice to Falciani to “cooperate’ without any precondition may not be enough for the whistleblower to risk ‘ arrest” and land in India to help the agencies in exposing the penalizing the hoarders of black money abroad.