Lagarde List: India’s Quest For Black Money

By The Editor

Hervé Falciani might or might not have anticipated the ripple effects of his decision to walk out with the list of some 130,000 names of who hold their money away from the prying eyes in the safe hands of his Swiss employer, HSBC. Leaked in 2008, this list has caused a firestorm in political, media and gossip circles in India today. Though government has handed it over to special investigative team of Supreme Court after much vacillation and pressure, it remains to be seen if all the names would be revealed to public and what actions would be taken against those whose names are there in this “merit” list that also goes by the nick name of Lagarde List.

Swiss vaults have always been a preferred destination for tyrants, business magnets, drug dealers, tax evaders, terrorists, money launderers, corrupt politicians and officials of governments throughout the world to stash their illicit cash. This money is national bread and butter for the Swiss and they are not going to cooperate with anyone to ruin their business by ratting out their clients and would do everything in their power to deter any investigation in their affairs or of their clients’ money. These 627 or some names would have already moved their assets away and government shouldn’t expect any answers from the Swiss authorities. Instead, the judiciary should make sure that names in the list should be prosecuted and persuaded to disclose the details of their foreign accounts.

Corruption is no secret to Indians; one has to pay for driver license, passports and everything from as big as opening a factory to as small as opening a food stand at a railway station. This money flows through the system to the top where the big fish moves it out of the country and into a safe haven. It also reflect the fault on our system, we are already ranked 142 in ease to do business and business men who have to pay bribes for their file, project or contract to get clear have much inclination and pressure to recover that money. Only way for them remains is either to increase revenue by raising prices or avoid paying taxes and latter serves best. Some do it out of pressure and some do it out of pure greed and because digging into these affairs would throw the dirt at lawmakers and officials at the top. Hardly anyone want to look for trouble by probing into these affairs, the end result, perversion continues and loops in everyone. The overall effect is that you and I pay for inflated groceries, expensive gas and fuel and crushing bills.

The names in the list are just one part of the problem but it has to begin somewhere. All it can be done is that either put hefty fines or longer sentences on those involved and it has to be done swiftly, so that may deter the potential evaders and reinforce the confidence of public in law and administration of the land, these names should come out. It has to be considered that these 627 names are no ordinary Indians, these are people with money and influence and rules apply differently to different people in our country. We don’t know if there are any big fishes to be caught or what will happen to the listed people but this is the climax of all the speeches during the election campaign, promises that were made to public on recovery of the lost treasure, countless debates and TV time. The ball is in their court now and public is watching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *