Today's Paper

Centre orders probe against Indians linked to tax havens

Actors, real estate promoters figure in leaked documents

The BJP-led NDA government on Monday ordered the formation of a special agency to investigate Indians who figure in the ‘Panama papers’ — a set of over 11 million leaked documents that reveal how the rich and the connected around the world used tax havens for salting away their wealth.

The documents, about the clients of one of the world’s biggest law firms offering such services, were leaked to a German newspaper, which in turn shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The multi-agency group that was set up following directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi will consist of officers from the investigative units of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the Financial Intelligence Union and Foreign Tax & Tax Research division and the Reserve Bank of India. The Special Investigation Team on Black Money, appointed under the Supreme Court’s directions, had in its third report submitted last year to the court said that various departments were not prepared to share the information received in tax evasion cases.

Based on an investigation with the ICIJ of the documents leaked from the secret files of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm headquartered in tax haven Panama, with offices in 42 countries and several more franchises, The Indian Express reported on Monday that over 500 Indians, including high-profile actors and businessmen, could have links to secret firms in overseas tax havens.

Among those the newspaper named in its reports are actors Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, real estate firm DLF’s promoter K.P. Singh and Vinod Adani, elder brother of Adani Group founder and chairman Gautam Adani. Several of those the newspaper named have denied any wrongdoing.

The records were first accessed by Munich-based newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung . Following the leaks, tax authorities in the U.K., France, New Zealand and Australia said they would look into the charges of money laundering or tax avoidance, arising from the expose.



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