As per sources, the Finance Ministry declined to share details of the Indian Swiss bank accounts and the black money received from the foreign countries citing ‘confidentiality provision’ signed under the tax treaty between India and Switzerland.
“Information exchanged under such tax agreements is covered under confidentiality provisions of respective agreements. Thus, disclosure of tax-related information and information sought/obtained from foreign governments is exempted under section 8 (1) (a) and 8 (1) (f) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act,” the Ministry said in response to an RTI application.
India exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on the Automatic Exchange of Information with Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA).
Anticipating the closure of many Indian accounts after a global crackdown on black money led to Switzerland buckling under international pressure to open its banking sector for scrutiny to clear the long-held perception of Swiss banks being a haven for undisclosed funds.
Point 25 of RBI/2015-16/59 (DBR No. Leg. BC. 21/09.07.006/2015-16) states the bankers’ obligation to maintain secrecy arises out of the contractual relationship between the banker and customer, and as such no information should be divulged to third parties except under circumstances which are well defined.