India to sign agreements with 42 nations

Dehra Dun: After signing agreements with 48 countries, India will shortly ink pacts with 42 more nations to bring back black money stashed abroad, Union minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat said on Saturday.

Once these agreements are signed, India will be in a position to bring back black money stashed in different banks abroad, he told reporters here.

On BJP leader L K Advani`s claim that Rs 25 lakh crore were stashed abroad as black money, he said the exact amount is not yet known. "The BJP is an expert on the matter. It is because of this expertise that its leaders can make an assessment of the black money," Rawat said. He pointed out India has already signed agreements with 48 nations to bring back black money.

These countries include Switzerland and Germany, the minister said. India will sign similar agreements with 42 more nations, including Spain, he said.

On BJP leader L K Advani`s criticism of the UPA dispensation on the black money issue, Rawat asked the former Deputy Prime Minister what steps the then NDA government took to bring back the money. "The NDA was in power for nearly six years," he said.

On the Lokpal Bill, Rawat said the UPA government is committed to bringing the bill in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. "We have incorporated suggestions from Anna Hazare, Aruna Roy and others in the bill. It will be a model bill which can be replicated as Lokayukta in states," he said.

Asked to comment on Uttarakhand`s Lokayukta Bill which has earned praise from Hazare, Rawat said there are several shortcomings as the Bill did not allow initiation of action till all the members agree. "If Chief Minister B C Khanduri is really serious in fighting corruption, he must file an FIR and take action against the former Chief Minister and other ministers who are involved in the Maha Kumbh scam," he said.

Rawat said the UPA government will bring some nine more bills in the coming session of Parliament which are on money laundering, benami property and others.