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Taxman targets HSBC Geneva in war against black money.

I-TDept gets SIT nod for filing complaint against banking giant before March 31

THE Income Tax ( I- T) Department has got permission of the special investigation team ( SIT) on black money to file a complaint against HSBC bank, Geneva, for allegedly abetting tax evasion in India by way of unauthorisedly operating accounts of its citizens in its overseas branch.

Sources told news agency PTI that the complaint, under Section 278 of the I- T Act ( abetment of false return), is expected to be filed before March 31 as these accounts pertain to 2006- 07 and would get timebarred after that date.

The department, sources added, has worked on, at least, four cases figuring in the purported ' HSBC lists' it got from France a few years ago and gathered evidence against the bank to say that it wilfully abetted tax evasion in India by not disclosing client information and layering it to avoid law enforcement agencies thus leading to violation of IT laws and evasion of huge amounts in taxes.

The evidence has been vetted at the senior- most level in the department and the Central Board of Direct Taxes. The prosecution complaint against the bank would seek punishment under tax laws, sources said. When Union finance minister recently said that new names added to a list of Indians with accounts at HSBC in Geneva will be investigated as part of an expansive inquiry into black money.

I- T Department gets nod of SIT on black money to file a complaint against HSBC bank, Geneva The bank allegedly abetted tax evasion in India by way of unauthorisedly operating accounts of its citizens in its overseas branch Sources told news agency PTI that the complaint, under Section 278 of the I- T Act ( abetment of false return), is expected to be filed before March 31 These accounts pertain to 2006- 07 and would get time- barred after March 31 The I- T Department has worked on, at least, four cases figuring in the purported ' HSBC lists' it got from France a few years ago The taxman gathered evidence against the bank to say that it wilfully abetted tax evasion in India by not disclosing client information The evidence has been vetted at the senior- most level in the department and the Central Board of Direct Taxes The prosecution complaint against the bank would seek punishment under tax laws, sources said

I- TDEPTRUNS AGAINSTTIME

approached by PTI, HSBC, however, declined to comment.

In the four cases, the IT probe has recorded statements of the bank account holders who said they were aided and helped by the bank in not disclosing their cash movement and balances. These clients have also submitted some emails exchanged in this regard.

The probe in the HSBCGeneva cases, with names of 628 entities, gathered momentum recently as a number of cases under this category are getting time- barred by the end of this financial year, meaning they cannot be acted against after the said time period. The SIT has also widened its probe into these cases after revelations in this regard were made recently by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists ( ICIJ).

Details of more than 1,00,000 account holders around the world, including over 1,000 from India, were claimed to have been disclosed through a joint investigation by ICIJ. The entire HSBC list features names of 1,668 Indians while the number of actionable cases stands at 1,195 after taking into account duplication and other factors. Collectively, these accounts had a balance of $ 4.1 billion ( ` 25,420 crore) till 2007.

In the list published recently, there are 2,699 accounts linked to 1,688 Indians. Of these, 1,403 accounts were opened between 1969 and 2006.

The complaint is expected to be filed before March 31 as these accounts pertain to 2006- 07 and would get time- barred after that date

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 17, 2015
Words:661
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