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Monday, June 11, 2012

What colour is black money ? Pranab says all in foreign bank is not black !!

It perhaps is nothing unique to India nor unheard of in other parts – tax evasion, black money, scandals are perhaps Universal !

People earning money through unholy means, stashing them without revealing them or declaring them has been going on, mostly unchecked – while the common salaried class is taxed as high as 1/3rd of their earnings – bigger traders, professionals, politicians and everybody else seemingly make merry without paying taxes – there is no second opinion that black money harms the economy – the Government can only function through the revenue generated from its citizens.

Some tamil cinema :  The film begins ‘in medias res’, with a masked person being brought to the Central Jail in Chennai, India. When asked by a fellow-inmate for the reasons behind his imprisonment, the masked person replies that he is imprisoned for attempting to do good for the people. The masked person is revealed to be Sivaji  - with the story unwinding to a flashback of a software architect returning back to native land thinking of doing good to his land but ends up beaten by the system and corrupt people. The whole film talks about black money and its harmful effect – that was Rajnikant starrer – Sivaji- the boss.   That was not the first or the only film

In Kanthasamy, Vikram plays a sleuth in CBI, granting the wishes of the needy who write letters to Lord Muruga at Thirporur temple by disguising himself as an anthropomorphic chicken. He goes on to discover a stash of black money, travels places to take out the hidden riches for the benefit of Indian poor.  In Anniyan, Ambi an innocent and honest lawyer fights and kills lawbreakers by torturing them and is shown as a person with multiple personality disorder.  

All of these dealing with corruption and black money were big hits with the people, so was the  2011 Indian anti-corruption movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare and his followers.  Black is not the colour of money but the money earned to ill-gotten means – everyone have their own estimates of black money stashed in tax-havens abroad.  Even CBI is quoted as stating that  Indians are the largest depositors in banks abroad.  In January 2011, the Supreme Court of India (SC) asked why the names of those who have stashed money in the Liechtenstein Bank have not been disclosed ?  In April 2011, Hasan Ali Khan was arrested by Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department on charges of stashing over 36,000 crore in foreign banks

If you have understood it to be so, perhaps you are totally wrong.  Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday [10th June 12]  said all the money kept by Indians abroad is not black money and noted that India has signed treaties with 37 countries to know the details of such illegal wealth.  He is a seasoned politician – sources state that he could end up Congress candidate for President – you have to believe him when he says that not all money kept abroad is black – they could well have been deposited by businessmen or business houses.  If he says Why and why they were not accounted, then perhaps the real colour of money could be understood by minions.

His utterances are direct response to demands by yoga guru Ramdev asking the government to take steps to bring bank black money stashed abroad.  At another plain, hitting back at Team Anna for levelling corruption charges against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and 14 other cabinet ministers, including himself, NCP chief Sharad Pawar challenged it to prosecute him. Pawar, however, admitted the UPA government “fell short” while taking decisions on issues like price rise.

How can somebody utter against the rulers and talk about black money ? First it was Income Tax, now it is the Service Tax department to issue a notice of Rs 4.94 crore dues to yoga guru Ramdev’s trust for alleged duty evasion on its income raised through country-wide ‘yog shivirs‘ – it is stated that under service tax provisions, yoga is in the taxable list of health and fitness services.  Ramdev, who is leading a campaign against black money in the country, heads an organisation that runs the trusts which manages the manufacture and sale of ayurvedic medicines in India and abroad.  His trusts have been enjoying tax exemption under the provisions relating to charitable organisations for the last few years.

Ramdev’s trusts are also under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged contravention of foreign exchange rules. Ramdev had last year declared his business empire to be worth more than Rs 1,100 crore.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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