By Alok Mathur
Revenue secretary Sanjay Malhotra mitigated concerns of opposition ruled states on the changes made in the money laundering law.
“The amendments were required to meet the obligations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF),” he said.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body which sets standards and develops and promotes policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. India became its member in 2010.Malhotra, who is a 1990-batch Rajasthan cadre officer, said it was clarified that the changes will empower tax authorities with more information and “I think all of them (state ministers) were quite satisfied with the explanation”.
The finance ministry, through a notification, brought in an amendment to the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, as per which GSTN, which handles the technology backbone of Goods and Services Tax, has been included in the list of entities with which ED (Enforcement Directorate) will share information.
“This notification was issued because it is one of the requirement under FATF evaluation…The GSTN is a recipient of information. There were doubts that GSTN will start sharing information about private businesses to other law enforcement agencies, like ED,” he said.
It was clarified that Director FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) will provide information to authorities wherever they feel there is any chance of tax evasion or money laundering. Several opposition-ruled states expressed concern over the Centre's decision to allow ED to share information with GST Network (GSTN), with finance minister of AAP-ruled Punjab Harpal Singh Cheema on Tuesday saying it amounts to ‘tax terrorism' and scaring small businesses.