Govt sets up probe into Pandora Papers that name more than 300 Indians
The Union government on Monday announced that a multi-agency group will investigate the case of the Pandora Papers – a trove of financial records in offshore tax havens in which more than 300 Indians have been named.
The probe group will be headed by the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, and will have representatives from the Enforcement Directorate, Reserve Bank of India and the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Anil Ambani, Vinod Adani, Jackie Shroff, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Niira Radia, Sachin Tendulkar and Satish Sharma, among others, figure on the list of Indians in the Pandora Papers, which have been obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015 makes it mandatory for Indian residents to keep the IT authorities informed about their foreign financial interests and assets. The condition does not apply to NRIs though.
The #PandoraPapers is the most expansive leak of tax haven files in history and reveals the secret offshore holdings of more than 300 politicians and public officials from more than 90 countries and territories.
— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) October 4, 2021
The Pandora Papers data, collected with help from 140 media houses across the world, shows that people with financial might made use of global corporate services to set up almost 30,000 off-the-shelf companies and private oversees trusts for their clientele, which included some 300 politicians. These companies were set up between 1971 and 2018.
The trusts/companies were operating in random tax jurisdictions, called tax havens, anywhere in the world, including counties like US, Singapore, New Zealand and others.
The Pandora Papers trove includes about 1.2 crore leaked files, comprising 30 lakh images, about 10 lakh emails and approximately 5 lakh spreadsheets.
Other names in the papers include 330-odd politicians of more than 90 countries – from people in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle to close aides and financial backers of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.