New Delhi, April 29 (IANS): The Union government is taking all necessary steps on the issue of tax evasion and notice is being served on those whose names figure in the Panama Papers leaks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
The statement during Question Hour when members, including Nana Patole and Kirit Somiaya (both Bharatiya Janata Party) and B Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal) asked supplementaries on the tax evasion issue.
Jaitley, however, said any individual case could not be discussed in the House. He assured that the government is taking action and has already served notice on some named in the Panama Papers leaks on tax evasion and of stashing money overseas.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said the appointment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2014 had helped in the purpose of tracking black money both in the country and outside.
"The SIT is doing a commendable job," Sinha said, adding that recommendations of the SIT had helped investigating agencies and the government, especially with regard to black money stashed overseas.
"And for domestic black money also the SIT recommendations have been found helpful and necessary steps are being taken," he said.
Biju Janata Dal floor leader B Mahtab wanted to know if in the wake of reports from SIT and other agencies the government is proposing any changes in the law to keep an eye on tax evaders.
BJP member Kirit Somaiya was pulled up by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan when he took the name of a popular Maharashtra leader, who is now in jail. "You know everything, then why are you taking someone's name," Mahajan told the ruling party member tersely.
Minister of State Finance Sinha agreed that there are instances of tax evasion by moneyed people when they show their income as agricultural income.
BJP member Nana Patole said the contention that agricultural income is growing cannot be true because, "If such is the case, then farmers would not be committing suicide".
Sinha said there has been an increase of tax payers' network to 5.8 crore ever since the NDA government took over.
"We should not analyse this number based on the country's total population. It is only among the 25 crore households and chiefly from seven crore eligible tax payers in the urban pockets," Sinha said.