The income-tax (I-T) department has started “search and seizures” in cases named in the recently-leaked Panama Papers, revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia told HT.
“Already some search and seizures have started in some cases based on the details that we have collated and sourced from media reports. The Panama Papers case has just begun; we are trying to verify each and every detail of the people who were named,” Adhia said. “Details such as past income tax returns, PAN numbers, disclosures made in the black money window last year, remittances received under the liberalised remittances scheme are under surveillance.”
Names of about 500 Indians, including top industrialists and Bollywood actors, featured in the millions of documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm. The leak led to a massive global controversy for allegedly helping wealthy and powerful people in making shady and secret investments.
Adhia refused to give the names of the people who were raided .
Search and seizure is a raid at both residential and office premises of the person or the company concerned to find out sources of income, investments, assets etc.
Adhia added that government sent a “first – notice” to these people seeking their clarification on the allegations of holding such investments before analysing data on these people.
“We know quite a few details of many of them and notices have been sent to all of them. Most of them have replied. And we have started the process of analysing their replies too, beyond which we will take follow up actions,” Adhia further said.
However, the revenue secretary said that the island nation has refused to exchange information of companies and bank accounts of these people. “Panama has not agreed as of now, but we are in talks with them. If they do not share information with us then we cannot pressurise them as India does not have any such agreement with them. But under the global framework of automatic exchange of information, if not by 2017, then by 2018, Panama will have to start giving information to all the countries,” Adhia said.
For a detailed investigation, the government requires documents such as bank statements and books of accounts that can substantiate the wrongdoing.