Black money info won’t be shared even with CAG: Arun Jaitley

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NEW DELHI: The finance ministry ruled out sharing data related to declarations made under the Income Disclosure Scheme for black money with any agency, including the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG).

While revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the government would ensure complete confidentiality, as promised under the scheme, finance minister Arun Jait ley assured the individuals who availed of the scheme that the information will not result in any “vindictive” action by the government. He also vowed to protect the information declared under the scheme.

Adhia said the government would only share the overall number and details of accounts would not be divulged. In fact, the tax department has remained tight-lipped and has not disclosed the state-wise breakup or the highest declaration made under the scheme.

The finance ministry and CAG had a major tiff in 1998-99 over sharing of information related to the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, 1997, and after much haggling the government had to finally part with detailed data with the federal auditor.

In a report in 2000, the CAG had pointed to several gaps in the scheme, resulting in misuse through undervaluation of jewellery, bullion, shares and real estate and “creation” of capital loss that was to be set off against income in future years. The report had pointed out that some of the individuals accused in scams had been allowed to avail of the scheme despite restrictions. A parliamentary panel had said that even those who had availed of amnesty schemes in the past took advantage of VDIS.

Officials said the tax department had issued several clarifications ensuring complete confidentiality of information provided under the scheme and this messsage was the key in the government’s advertisement campaign.