Government team to probe Indians named in Panama papers leak

Amitabh, Aishwarya, Sameer Gehlaut, K.P. Singh and others have accounts abroad: report

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday directed the setting up of a special multi-agency group to probe and take action in the light of reports that some 500 Indians, including top filmstars Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, businessmen including promoters of DLF and IndiaBulls — K.P. Singh and Sameer Gehlaut — and several politicians had allegedly stashed money in offshore entities in tax havens.

The SIT on black money also said it will thoroughly investigate the “Panama Papers”, the reported secret list that was exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in collaboration with several publications across the globe, and pertains to offshore investments by a number of individuals and companies.

Read: Panama to launch criminal probe of 'Panama Papers'

“As per the directions of the Prime Minister given today, a special multi-agency group is being constituted today consisting of officers from the investigative Unit of the CBDT, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Foreign Tax and Tax Research Division and a representative of the RBI,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said after a meeting with the Prime Minister. He said the group will monitor the flow of information in each one of the cases and inform the PM. Mr Jaitley said the PM had directed strict action should be taken against whoever was found guilty. “The government will take action as required to get the maximum information from all sources, to help in the investigation process,” he said. He also he expected more names to crop up over the next few days.

Panama papers leak

Mr Jaitley said those who did not take advantage of the compliance window to declare illegal assets will find “such adventurism costly”. He said initiatives to deal with the menace of unaccounted wealth abroad will be in place by 2017, and then it would become extremely difficult for individuals to hide assets.

Centre says world will be ‘transparent’
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday directed the setting up of a special multi-agency group to probe and take action in the light of reports that some 500 Indians had allegedly stashed money in offshore entities in tax havens, finance minister Arun Jaitley said, “With G20 initiatives, FATCA and bilateral transactions in place with effect from 2017, the world is going to be a far more transparent institution and therefore this kind of an adventurism will prove to be extremely costly for those who have indulged in it.”

Last year, during the 90-day compliance window that ended on September 30, the government had received disclosures of undeclared overseas wealth totalling Rs 4,147 crores. Those wanting to come clean were required to pay 30 per cent tax and 30 per cent penalty.

Panama papers leak

“The compliance window operated (and) many availed... but probably some didn’t. Today when I see contrarian reports appearing (in the media), which are not only impacting India... which are impacting the rest of the world. I think it is a stern reminder to all of us,” said Mr Jaitley.

He said in the past too, based on investigative journalism by ICIJ in 2013, in which the links of 700 Indians were shown to have business connections with offshore entities, the department of revenue was able to identify 434 among them as Indian residents. “Some 184 persons out of these have also admitted their relationship with such offshore entities/transactions. Although, in the previous report of the ICIJ, information relating to financial transactions/ bank accounts was not available, government authorities have detected credit in the undisclosed foreign accounts of such Indian persons in excess of Rs 2,000 crores.

Panama papers leak

India acted on earlier info too
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said similarly, in response to information received in 2011 from France relating to bank accounts of 628 Indian persons in HSBC, Switzerland, a lot of progress had been made in the investigation.

“Out of the list, 569 have been traced. How-ever, in the information received, the details of HSBC amounts were shown against 339 persons. Out of the 628, 214 were found not actionable on account of no balance or being non-residents or non-traceable,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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