Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4

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The Government on Monday said a multi-agency group of investigative agencies will probe the largest trove of leaked data exposing tax haven secrecy called Pandora Papers that allegedly names several Indians, including Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani, Vinod Adani, Jackie Shroff, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Niira Radia, and Satish Sharma.

What are Pandora Papers?

  • It is the latest in the leak by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) of offshore secrets of wealthy elites kept in islands that are tax havens.

  • In this case, it claims to have laid hands on a data trove of 2.94 terabytes based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that advise wealthy individuals and corporations on investing in low or no-tax jurisdictions.

  • Previous leaks were in the form of ICIJ, HSBC, Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. The ICIJ was instrumental in the leak of the Panama Papers also.

More names are likely to be added as the information is being released in phases and the fine-print of their holdings will be released a little later. Indications are that over 300 Indians are on the list.

The ‘Pandora Papers’ reveal the names of hundreds of top entertainers, sportspersons, serving and retired politicians and business people such as music diva Shakira and supermodel Claudia Schiffer.

Red also:

But many of those named have either rejected allegations of misdoings or maintained that the accounts are bonafide. They include Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw who said her husband’s offshore trust was legitimate.

The Government, nevertheless, will investigate all names appearing under the ‘Pandora Papers’ series of expose and the probe will be monitored by a Multi Agency Group (MAG) drawn from CBDT, ED, RBI and FIU, and headed by the CBDT Chairman.

MAG would undertake investigation in these cases and appropriate action would be taken in such cases as per law, said a CBDT statement.

The Government will also proactively engage with foreign jurisdictions to get information about the people named in the Pandora Papers.

The Government will also engage with an Inter-Governmental Group that ensures experience sharing to effectively address tax risks associated with such leaks.

The Government has already enacted the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act after undisclosed income of over Rs 20,000 crore was detected in the investigations carried out in the Panama and Paradise Papers.

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