A demand to disclose the names of Indians allegedly figuring in the leaked Panama papers on those holding offshore accounts to launder money and dodging tax was made in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Naresh Agrawal (SP), through a notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to discuss the issue, alleged that the government was “deliberately sitting” over the names that have come to light in the leaked documents from the files of law firm Mossack Fonseca, based in the tax haven of Panama.
Under the Panama-India tax treaty, companies have to pay tax only in the nation where they are headquartered. So, black money is laundered from India to Panama, a nominal 5 percent tax paid, the money then converted into ‘white’ and brought back as FDI, he claimed.
As part of the treaty, Panama is not to disclose names of the company owners, he said, adding that the government has all the names of persons who have used this route to avoid paying taxes and convert black money into white.
The BJP government, he said, came to power on the promise of unearthing blackmoney but has done very little so far. Only Rs 5,000 crore has been disclosed in the voluntary disclosure window for holders of foreign blackmoney, he said, adding that besides Panama, Mauritius, Dubai and Singapore were earlier used to convert black money to white.
He claimed the black or illegal money was thrice the size of legal money. “This is a big racket,” he said.
“Why are you not disclosing names? And what action is being taken,” he asked the government. “Government is deliberately sitting over it.”
He alleged that government patronage allowed a member of House, who owed hundreds of crores to public sector banks, to flee the country. Agrawal, however, did not name anyone. He demanded a discussion on the Panama papers, disclosure of names of Indians and action taken against them.