A huge leak of more than 11 million files of Panama law firm includes around 29 billionaires and more than 500 Indians linked to offshore firms.
The panama papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million confidential documents created by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca that provides detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions including the identities of shareholders and directors. The panama papers contain nearly 40 years of records and include information about many world leaders, celebrities and companies.
The records reveal a list of individuals who have paid the firm and bought the benefits of the secretive, tax regulatory system in which it operates to set up offshore entities in tax havens around the world.
Along with offshore holdings of 140 politicians across the globe, nearly 29 billionaires and over 500 Indians are linked to the firm’s list of offshore companies, foundations and trusts.
Famous Indian personalities like Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, corporates including DLF owner K P Singh and nine members of his family, promoters of Apollo Tyres and Indiabulls, Gautam Adani’s elder brother Vinod Adani, politicians Shishir Bajoria from West Bengal and Anurag Kejriwal, the former chief of the Delhi unit of Loksatta Party, among others have made to the list.
The big leak of confidential documents has revealed how some of the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.
Government steps in
Governments across the world have begun investigating about the possible financial wrong doings by the rich and powerful.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government ordered the formation of a special multi-agency group to investigate about the Indians who featured in the Panama Papers.
An Indian team of officers from the investigative units of the central board of direct taxes, financial intelligence union, foreign tax and tax research division and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will probe into the leaks and look into the cases where Indians are setting offshore entities in tax havens.
The government said it will take all necessary actions to get the maximum information from all sources including from foreign governments to help in the investigation process.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money set up under the chairmanship of Justice M B Shah said that it will thoroughly investigate the list of nearly 500 Indians who are linked to offshore companies.
“Investigations are being carried out. We are going to investigate the list thoroughly,” M B Shah told PTI.
“As of now we have read about the accounts in the newspaper. But whatever needs to be done in terms of action will be done as expeditiously and quickly as possible without waste of time,” Arijit Pasayat, vice-chairman, SIT, told The Indian Express.