Wasn’t it Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vow to bring back black money? Rahul on Indian funds in Swiss banks

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On Friday, the opposition attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over funds parked in Swiss banks by Indian individuals and firms reaching a 14-year high in 2021, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asking if it wasn’t the PM’s promise to bring back every rupee of black money stashed abroad that prompted the increase.

Annual data from Switzerland’s central bank showed that 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, thanks to a sharp increase in holdings via securities and similar instruments, while customer deposits also increased.

“Wasn’t it the Prime Minister’s commitment to bring back every Rupee of black money stashed abroad?” Gandhi wrote in a Facebook post, tagging a screenshot of a media piece on the yearly data of Switzerland’s central bank. Mallikarjun Kharge, a senior Congress leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, has blasted the administration over the issue, claiming that Indian deposits in Swiss banks had more than doubled since 2014.

He wrote on Twitter, “Modi Ji’s suit-boot buddies are now hiding more wealth in offshore accounts than ever before.”

The CPI(M) claimed on its official Twitter account that Prime Minister Modi promised to return all black money stored in foreign banks within 100 days of taking office in 2014, and again within 50 days of demonetisation in 2016.

“After eight years of Modi leadership, Indian funds in Swiss banks have reached 14-year highs of (Rs) 30600 crore,” it stated.

“Didn’t Modi constantly pledge to bring back all Black Money stashed abroad?” tweeted TMC Rajya Sabha MP Jawahar Sircar. “Modi hai toh mumkin hai,” the Aam Aadmi Party said, referring to the growth in funds stashed in Swiss banks by Indian individuals and businesses. BJP spokeswoman Shehzad Poonawala responded to critics of the administration by tweeting, “Myth vs Facts, Every year, this data is released, and every year, there are people who require clarification of their beliefs or myths. There is no dark money in Swiss bank accounts. A significant portion of it is parked there for genuine business reasons.” The increase in aggregate funds held by Indian clients with Swiss banks, from 2.55 billion Swiss francs (Rs 20,700 crore) at the end of 2020 to 2.55 billion Swiss francs (Rs 20,700 crore) at the end of 2021, is the second consecutive year of growth.

Furthermore, the amount of money in Indian clients’ savings and deposit accounts increased to a seven-year high of around Rs 4,800 crore, reversing a two-year downward trend.

These are official data provided to the SNB by banks and do not reflect the amount of alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland. These figures also exclude any funds held in Swiss banks by Indians, NRIs, or others in the name of third-country businesses.