New Delhi: Indian tax authorities and investigators probing black money cases have decided to hold one-to-one meetings with their overseas counterparts based in tax haven nations and other countries to "deepen" cooperation in the fight against illicit funds stashed abroad.
As part of the measures to combat the menace, investigators have also received a new dossier on tax-related business information on about a dozen entities whose names were reported by an international group of investigative journalists sometime back.
The Union Finance Ministry, after due consultations with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money and various financial probe agencies, has decided that a team of senior officials will be tasked to hold bilateral meetings with foreign jurisdictions either in India or at the location of the respective counterparts, to thrash out issues quickly.
"The step is aimed to cut down on the time taken in paper-based documentation and communication in cases of illegal funds stashed abroad. A team of senior officials drawn from the Ministry and its various field formations will hold meetings and put across requests related to probe in these cases right on the discussion table. The required sanctions in this regard have been obtained from the government," a senior Finance Ministry official said.
An official communication prepared in this regard by the Central Board of Direct Taxes and reviewed by the SIT underlines the need for having the new mechanism.
"Bilateral discussions, including through conference calls and face-to-face meetings with the competent authorities of our treaty partners which now include well known tax havens and offshore financial centres such as British Virgin Islands, Jersey, UAE and Singapore are being planned and the cooperation in this regard will be deepened in future.
"These bilateral meetings will help India in making targeted and specific requests for information and to understand the problems, if any, which prevent them in providing the information, and to examine how the same can be addressed," the note, accessed by PTI, said.
While about three such meetings have already taken place, the official said, about half-a-dozen are already lined up to be held this year including one with the European Union.