CHURUMURI POLL: Bring back Swiss bank money?

In an election devoid of a unifying theme other than hate and fear, “Swiss Bank Money” has emerged as a major mantra on many a political lip.

From L.K. Advani to Sitaram Yechuri, bringing back “unaccounted money” stashed away in tax havens like Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Cayman Islands has become the refrain. The amounts mentioned are astronomic: The BJP says Rs 5,000 billion crore up from; CPI(M) pegs it at $1.4 trillion; JD(U) says it is $1,456 billion; Rs 692,328 crore in the last five years alone; anywhere between Rs 25 lakh crore and Rs 70 lakh crore.

Narendra Modi says the Swiss bank money have fuelled the stock markets, Advani wants the names of ministers who have been to Switzerland made public; the BJP wants to conduct a week-long survey to drum up public opinion following rumours and reports that India was not just unenthusiastic about French efforts at the G20 summit in London to make tax havens transparent, but plainly casual.

Underlying all the flagellation is the belief that the Swiss banks will readily divulge the names of Indian “tax evaders, corrupt individuals and criminals” like they did in a Florida tax evasion case involving UBS Bank, and the assumption that the current global financial crisis is the right time to strike the iron. An IIM Bangalore professor says “India will be in the top five league if all the ill-gotten money is brought back.”

Advani, for his part, goes the whole hog. Even if we take the lower limit of the estimated amount of Rs. 25 lakh crore, the money is sufficient to, he says:

• Relieve the debts of all farmers and landless
• Build world-class roads all over the country – from national and state highways to district and rural roads;
• Completely eliminate the acute power shortage in the country and also to bring electricity to every unlit rural home;
• Provide safe and adequate drinking water in all villages and towns in India
• Construct good-quality houses, each worth Rs. 2.5 lakh, for 10 crore families;
• Provide Rs. 4 crore to each of the nearly 6 lakh villages; the money can be used to build, in every single village, a school with internet-enabled education, a primary health centre with telemedicine facility, a veterinary clinic, a playground with gymnasium, and much more.

Questions: Are these numbers real, or are Advani, Yechuri & Co merely flaunting a fictitious chainmail and indulging in politics by insinuation? Will any government—even a BJP-led one—really be able to bring back the money? Will the Swiss banks oblige? Is all the money in Swiss banks illegal? Can our parties and alliance take the risk of rubbing individuals and industrialists who finance them on the wrong side?

Also read: S. Gurumurthy on funny money

India’s dirty money dilemma

Advani and the Swiss money hoax

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14 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Bring back Swiss bank money?”

  1. Alok Says:

    I think a government can do so, but whether the new one or any one will, is a different matter.

    The Swiss Banks are opening up their (in)famous laws of secrecy for bankers and now is as good a time as any to start getting some of our money back.

    OTOH.

    It takes time and effort to do so, and the general feeling is that no party has the political gumption to open the can of worms.

    Besides, how much do we really trust a government, any government, to spend that astronomical figure unearthed wisely, or sanely?

  2. Mohan Says:

    Why not. If a major party leader is so convinced, I am sure he would be able to make some promt attempts atleast to get the data and money subsequently. All it needs is a bit of determination and commitment from major political parties.

    I certainly look forward for that ‘CHANGE’ in Indian politicians.

  3. M Says:

    If the party has such a brilliant idea, why didn’t it act when it was five years in power? The point is – nothing will happen. Nor can anything happen.

    Even if you assume the highly improbable scenario comes true – where Swiss banks do divulge names – what happens. Perhaps you can prosecute people in your backyard, but how on earth are you going to bring the money back?

    Do you think bankers will tell you – “aah, this money is stolen from your country – here have it!”

    I have never heard of a return of money from a simple burglary when the police catches the thief in India. How do expect money to be returned to you – which you simply can’t prove was yours?

    And in any case Indian black money hoarded in swiss banks is a hugely exaggerated. The significant black money is right here in India – reinvested into real estate. Not in Swiss banks where it is of use to no one.

  4. narasimha Says:

    Churmuri,

    As per S Gurumurthy, Germany was willing to divulge the names of the indians who had swiss accounts, FREE OF CHARGE, and UPA govt did not show any interest, in fact, it went a step further and the revenue secretary wrote to the Indian high commission in Germany not to push for these names…go figure.

    BTW, why are you mum on the numero uno families deafening silence on this issue…is it because, their name could also be on the list ;)

  5. babuds Says:

    By siphoning off the money stolen, from the people through corruption and exploitation, these people have made India into a third world country and its people illiterate, under-fed and disease ridden. The same people robbed the educated youth of growth opportunities for more than 50 years since independence. This money belongs to that generation and a part of it belongs to you and me. I am happy if anybody tries to bring it back and my full support is with them whatever may be their ideology.

  6. prasad Says:

    Even if the money is not brought back, let us have the names and their photo of all those SO CALLED INDIANS who have an account there. Let this be published in all media including NDTV and the Hindu.

  7. goutam Says:

    There is nothing like Swiss bank. It is all a gimmick started by the BJP and others during the Election time. The Congress who are always true and sincere would have looked into this long back if such thing existed. They would have long back taken this money into their account. The Congress biters are back! Jai Ho!

  8. B.N.Gururaj Says:

    Pray how will this 25 lakh crore rupees will be brought back. Has anyone any idea how one should commence the job? After twenty five years struggle, Bofors case remains open ended, with the only culprit caught escaping with the blessings of the first family of India. How does NDA expect to prevail upon Swiss government to disclose the source of these deposits, when it had to struggle for years just to obtain particulars of handful of accounts in Bofors case? This is just tall talk. Neither NDA nor UPA would be interested in bringing back this money or disclosing the names of the beneficiaries. I am quite certain that both sides hidden their skeletons in the Swiss Cupboards and would give quite burial to the subject once they are in power.

    Dear M,

    Talk about five years in power for NDA! Why not ask Congress about it when it was in power for several decades, under whose approving eyes, the money must have got stashed away? You are barking up the wrong tree.

  9. VAlale SUbbanna Says:

    Anyway,the BJP for the first time, has brought the issue let us give them a chance and be optimistic .

  10. Kingkhan Says:

    The BJP was in power for 6 years at the center. Why didnt they bring back the Swiss funds, OR were they busy depositing their own funds there.

    This is nothing but a political gimmick. We need to understand that all BJP wants is cheap publicity. We should not come under false propoganda again. We are already suffering under Yeddy’s mis-rule as of now.

  11. Harsha Says:

    Guys, please understand that the Swiss has agreed to open up their Clientele list only now..That too under the international pressure. So, there is no essense in statements like “The BJP was in power for 6 years at the center. Why didnt they bring back the Swiss funds”

    Congress was in power for the most of the past 60 yrs, after our independence..So, they r responsible for the current state of the country..
    The NDA, during their brief stint of 6 years took a lot of visionary and revolutionary steps like the Pokhran Nuclear test (due to which China is afraid of India now), Golden Quadrilateral (Congress has now stalled it!!), river interlinking (Successful in Gujarat and all Guj villages have water now)..

    Hope the educated ppl see the results and then vote..Congress is communal (although they call themselves sickular!) and follows the divide and rule policy..Whereas NDA wants to bring in the UCC (Uniform Civil Code)..

  12. karihaida Says:

    Bringing back black money is very deflationary.. this might result in job losses, particularly in export. So in the interest of the aam admi, kaangi won’t do anything like this. Infact they will deposit more black money now, since the inflation is very low and they want to increase inflation a little, again in the interest of the aam admi :)

  13. Doddi Buddi Says:

    I am sure Dirty Devegowda and family will be in the list of account holders using foreign banks:)

  14. abhijit Says:

    WHO IS TO BELL THE CAT. OFCOURSE WE. BUT A BILLION PEOPLE ARE NOT STRONG ENOUGH

    It is known 70 lakhs crores rupees of India are lying in Switzerland banks. This is the highest amount lying outside any country, from amongst 180 countries of the world, as if India is the champion of Black Money.

    The German Government has officially written to Indian Government that they (German Government) are willing to inform the details of holders of 70 lakh crore rupees in their Banks, if Indian Government officially asks them. On 22-5-08, this news has already been published in The Times of India and other Newspapers based on German Government’s official letter to Indian Government.

    The Indian Government has not sent any official enquiry to Germany for details of money which has been sent outside India between 1947 to 2008. The opposition party is also equally not interested in doing so because most of the amount is owned by politicians and it is every Indian’s money.

    This money belongs to our country. From these funds we can repay 13 times our country’s foreign debt. The interest alone can take care of the Centre’s yearly budget. People need not pay any taxes and we can pay Rs. 1 lakh to each of 45 crore poor families.

    Let us imagine, if Swiss Bank is holding Rs. 70 lakh crores, then how much money must be lying in other 69 Banks? How much they have deprived the Indian people? *Just think, if the Account holder dies, the bank becomes the owner of the funds in his account.* Are these people totally ignorant about the philosophy of *Karma*? What will this ill-gotten wealth do to them and their families when they own/use such money, generated out of corruption and exploitation?

    Indian people have read and have known about these facts. But the helpless people have neither time nor inclination to do anything in the matter. This is like “a new freedom struggle” and we will have to fight this.

    This money is the result of our sweat and blood. The wealth generated and earned after putting in lots of mental and physical efforts by Indian people must be brought back to our country

    ***

    AN AFTER THOUGHT.

    Is there any legal recourse by citizens groups and NGOs to pressurise German Govt to publish the information irrespective of Indian Govt asking for it or not?

    Can someone throw light on this?

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