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$1.4 Trillion worth Black money stashed abroad

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said $462 billion to $1.4 trillion in black money is estimated to have been stashed abroad by Indians and all steps were being taken to bring it back. But the names of the perpetrators can’t be revealed yet.

Unless legal provisions are in place in other countries, the two pacts India has been inking to track black money — double tax avoidance treaties and information exchange agreements — cannot help in revealing the names of perpetrators, Mukherjee said.

“We have nothing to hide. But there are legal provisions,” the finance minister told a press conference here, which was called at the behest of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clarify the government’s position on black money.

“Information we have received from other countries is on condition of secrecy. Today, if I divulge the secrecy (the names), thereafter tomorrow the other countries will not give us information. They will raise accusing fingers against us,” he said.

“I also have no authority of knowing the names. Our income tax officers discharge their functions under the act,” he said, adding the government will come to know of the names as and when the tax department starts prosecution proceedings in courts.