New Delhi: The Opposition on Friday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks jumping to a 14-year high in 2021, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asking wasn’t it the PM’s promise to bring back every rupee of black money stashed abroad.
Funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks, including through India-based branches and other financial institutions, jumped to a 14-year high of 3.83 billion Swiss francs (over Rs 30,500 crore) in 2021 on a sharp surge in holdings via securities and similar instruments while customer deposits rose as well, annual data from Switzerland’s central bank showed on Thursday.
Tagging a screenshot of a media report on the annual data of Switzerland’s central bank, Gandhi said in a Facebook post, ”Wasn’t it the Prime Minister’s promise to bring back every Rupee of black money stashed abroad?” Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge also attacked the government over the issue, saying the deposits of Indians in Swiss Banks have more than doubled since 2014.
”Modi Ji’s suit-boot friends are now hiding more wealth in foreign accounts than ever before,” he said on Twitter.
On its official Twitter handle, the CPI(M) said Prime Minister Modi promised to bring back all the black money stashed in foreign banks within 100 days of coming to power in 2014 and then again within 50 days of demonetisation in 2016.
”Now after 8 years of Modi rule, Indian funds in Swiss banks at 14 year highs at (Rs) 30600 crs,” it said.
TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Jawahar Sircar said on Twitter, ”Didn’t Modi repeatedly swear to bring back all Black Money stashed abroad?” The Aam Aadmi Party also took a dig at the Centre over the rise in funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks, saying ”Modi hai toh mumkin hai.”
Hitting back at those criticising the government, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala tweeted, ”Myth vs Facts, Every year this data comes out and every year there are those who need their concepts/myths cleared. All money in Swiss bank accounts is not black money. A lot of it is parked there for legitimate business reasons.”
The rise in aggregate funds of Indian clients with Swiss banks, from 2.55 billion Swiss francs (Rs 20,700 crore) at the end of 2020, marks the second consecutive year of increase.
Besides, the money held in Indian customers’ savings or deposit accounts rose to a seven-year high of about Rs 4,800 crore, reversing a two-year declining trend.
These are official figures reported by banks to the SNB and do not indicate the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland. These figures also do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the name of third-country entities.