Mukherjee said some countries may refrain from sharing further information if the names were made public as it would amount to violating the information sharing agreement with them. “We will dry up our source of information,” Mukherjee said, adding some of the account holders could even withdraw money if t he names were publicised.
“I have to ascertain, some of them may be genuine account holders, who have got permission from the RBI. They may be investors, we will get publicity but it will harm their businesses, it will have an impact on industry,” he said.
But the agreements wouldn't surely preclude us from publicising names if tax-evasion is detected? Pictures of top film stars used to be splashed liberally on the front pages of our newspapers for this very reason?
As for them being investors, surely there is no harm in revealing their names if the money is legal? Even if they are investing in their individual capacity, what is the harm in publishing how much they have abroad. The wealth of most top businessmen is well known through the various rich lists, like Forbes Richest Indians etc. If they are investing as companies, then too it should not be a problem. Companies in any case put all investment related information as well as all their bank deposits in their public filings with SEBI. This argument doesn't wash.
Mukherjee said that the government has received 36,000 pieces of information on monies stashed in accounts in foreign countries, but made it clear that no Member of Parliament figured in the list of names obtained from abroad. He clarified that no Member of Parliament so far figured in the list of the foreign bank account holders available with it.