Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Lok Sabha on Friday that notices had been served to certain individuals named in the Panama paper leaks for tax evasion and charges of stashing money overseas.
Approximately 500 Indians including top Industrialists and Bollywood stars have been named in documents leaked by Mossack Fonseca, a Panama Law firm that has been at the centre of controversy for helping rich and famous individuals make secret investments.
“All necessary steps are being taken by the government. Notices are being served to other individuals as well”, Jaitley said in answer to supplementary questions on the issue of tax evasion during Question Hour.
Responding to issues raised by Nana Patole and Kirit Somaiya (both BJP) and Bharatuhari Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal), Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha complimented the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in tracking black money within and outside the country.
“The SIT has also made helpful recommendations on tracking black money within the country. Necessary steps are being taken,” Sinha said.
Earlier, Mahtab demanded to know whether the government was proposing to amend existing laws with the aim of keeping a stricter vigil on tax evaders.
Speaking on the issue, Somaiya named a political leader of Maharashtra who is currently in jail. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan reprimanded him for this, saying: “You know everything. Why are you taking somebody’s name”.
Speaking in reference to the Maharashtra leader, the Minister of State for Finance agreed that there were instances of false declaration of agricultural income by moneyed people.
BJP member Nana Patole said the contention that agricultural income was growing could not be true. “If this had been the case, the farmers would not be committing suicide”, he argued.