As Switzerland has refused to hand over a list of account holders in its banks to India, union finance minster Pranab Mukherjee said that the government will look into the matter of the Swiss banks' refusal to hand over details of the Indian clients.
Speaking to newsmen before entering his North Block office today, Mukherjee said, ''What can I comment? I will look into the details with authorities in banking sector.''
Earlier Swiss Bank authorities had rejected India's request to disclose details of clients, saying Swiss law and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development model tax convention do not permit ''fishing expeditions''.
The issue of Indian politicians holding vast amounts of illegal cash in Swiss bank accounts was recently raised in Parliament by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. The current Congress-led government had promised to look into the matter.
However, the government seems to have failed to provide details of the persons that it is supposedly investigating. ''India cannot simply throw its telephone book at Switzerland and ask if any of these people have a bank account here," a top Swiss Bankers' Association official said.
Mukherjee said he has noted the reports about the reservations Swiss banks have in sharing client details with India, but did not say what course of action the government would take. "I have read in the newspapers", he said, adding that he will look into the matter.
However, the double taxation agreement that India has signed with Switzerland makes the whole process more complicated.