Congress reluctant to unearth foreign money, says NDA

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NEW DELHI - The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Thursday alleged that the ruling Congress-led government had failed to take concrete steps to unearth money stashed by Indians in tax havens banks due to fear of self-incrimination

It urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take proactive steps in this direction.

At a meeting held here at the residence of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L. K. Advani, NDA leaders sent a memorandum to the prime minister speaking of various cases of corruption and the “reluctance of the government” to bring money illegally stashed in foreign accounts of Indians.

“Our apprehension is that the reluctance of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government to take proactive steps on this front is motivated by the fear of self-incrimination. After all the Volcker report of a committee appointed by the United Nations in the ‘Food for Oil scam had named the Congress Party as one of the beneficiaries.

The investigations of our investigating agencies and our revenue agencies have conclusively proved as reflected in the order of the ITAT (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) that amongst the beneficiaries of the kickbacks in the Bofors bribery case was Ottavio Quattrochi through front companies like AE Services and Cole Bar Investments. The relationship of Ottavio Quattrochi and his wife Maria with the first family of the Congress Party is a matter of public knowledge and cannot be disputed,” the memorandum said.

The memorandum, signed by Advani, who is working president of NDA besides BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, senior party leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav among others, said that there has been a large number of exposes which have recently come into the public domain revealing corruption in high places.

The memorandum annexed recommendations of Task Force on the money stashed illegally in foreign tax havens appointed by Advani.

Pointing to the Convention against Corruption adopted by the UN, it said 240 countries had signed it and India was among the 14 countries who have not ratified it.

The memorandum said that investigative report in a recent Swiss journal Sehweizer Illustrirte has named 14 global leaders of the third world countries with accounts in Switzerland.

It said the name of a former Indian prime minister was also mentioned and noted this report has never been denied.

“The targets of investigations have not denied these allegations formally nor have they taken action against the impugned publications. It is important for government to ensure that the fair name of India and its leaders, past and present, including any former prime minister, is not sullied. So, either these allegations must be effectively rebutted or they must be investigated,” it said.

The memorandum also mentioned the 2G spectrum scam and irregularities concerning Commonwealth Games.

Leaders from Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal were also present at the meeting.

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