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Panama papers: investments legal, say Indian investors

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

Several Indians who figure in the list of those who have used tax havens to park their money have claimed that their investments were legal, while many have maintained silence.

While super star Amitabh Bachchan was yet to respond to the revelations by Monday evening, the media adviser to his daughter-in-law and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, was quoted by media reports as saying that the documents were “untrue and false.”

Construction major DLF said in a statement that the “Media report is aimed at distorting public perception which is extremely dear and important to all corporate and promoter families.” It said its promoter K.P. Singh and relatives, who figure in the Panama database of those who used tax havens, “followed all applicable rules and regulations of Govt. of India, RBI, FEMA and Income Tax to the last detail.”

DLF CEO Rajeev Talwar said the group “vehemently and strongly emphasise that all remittances were made after govt of India introduced the LRS scheme.”

Denies wrong doing

Indiabulls promoter Sameer Gehlaut also vehemently denied any wrong doing. “Mr Gehlaut receives dividends of Rs 350 to 450 crore every year, he has been investing his monies in his Indian family trust, SG Family Trust (stands for Sameer Gehlaut Family Trust) for further investments in its wholly owned subsidiary in India, Callies Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (India). Further Callies Infrastructure Pvt Ltd has capitalised its wholly owned subsidiary in Bahamas, Clivedale Overseas Ltd (Bahamas) that is engaged in property development business in London through its subsidiaries under the brand Clivedale,” a spokesperson for Mr Gehlaut said.

He also pointed out that Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd is also engaged in the business of property development in London and has acquired 22 Hanover Square.

“The overseas business of construction and property development being carried out by SG Family Trust and Indiabulls Real Estate is strictly as per the RBI policy framework for Overseas Direct Investments. All disclosures pertaining to business of SG Family Trust and Indiabulls Real Estate have been made to RBI and Income Tax departments for every financial year since inception and also as and when each of the overseas remittances have been made,” he said.

Dr Jehangir S. Sorabjee, son of former attorney general Soli Sorabjee who works as an honorary consultant physician at the Bombay Hospital and head of the department of medicine at the Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences, said there was “nothing unusual about this investment.”

‘No hanky-panky’

“There is no hanky panky here. We were allowed offshore investment of 250,000 dollars when the liberalised remittance scheme since 2005, and we have utilised the full quota. We have complied with the norms, and declared this investment to the income tax department,” Dr Sorabjee said.

A spokesperson for the Apollo Group and its promoter Onkar Kanwar also denied any wrong doing. Reports have said that Kanwar and his family members had floated an offshore entity in British Virgin Islands in 2010 and two trusts in 2014.

“India lawfully permits foreign investents in accordance with certain regulations. Any investment abroad, that the Kanwar family may have, is in due compliance with the Indian laws, where applicable, including making disclosures wherever required. Many of the family members mentioned are NRIs,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 8:45:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/panama-papers-investments-legal-say-indian-investors/article8434255.ece

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