Govt orders probe into ‘Pandora Papers’ leak

Post-probe action will be taken against unscrupulous elements as per the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, Union finance ministry said.
“Undisclosed credits of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>20,352 crore approximately (status as on 15.09.2021) have been detected in the investigations carried out in the Panama and Paradise Papers,” the finance ministry said in a statement.(Mint)
“Undisclosed credits of 20,352 crore approximately (status as on 15.09.2021) have been detected in the investigations carried out in the Panama and Paradise Papers,” the finance ministry said in a statement.(Mint)
Published on Oct 05, 2021 04:03 AM IST
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ByRajeev Jayaswal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The government on Monday directed the chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to lead a multi-agency probe involving the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) against individuals and corporate entities named in “Pandora Papers” media investigation.

Post-investigation action will be taken against unscrupulous elements as per the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, the Union finance ministry said. Following similar leaks in the past by the International Consortium of International Journalists (ICIJ), the government enacted the act with an aim to curb black money, undisclosed foreign assets or undeclared incomes. It provides for “suitable tax and penalty” in such cases.

“Undisclosed credits of 20,352 crore approximately (status as on 15.09.2021) have been detected in the investigations carried out in the Panama and Paradise Papers,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

ICIJ on Sunday (October 3, 2021) came out with what was claimed to be a 2.94 terabyte data trove that exposes the offshore secrets of wealthy elites from more than 200 countries and territories.

The latest investigation is based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in low or no-tax jurisdictions, the statement said.

“The government has taken note of these developments. The relevant investigative agencies would undertake investigation in these cases and appropriate action would be taken in such cases as per law,” the finance ministry said.

To ensure effective investigation in these cases, the government will also proactively engage with foreign jurisdictions for obtaining information in respect of relevant taxpayers and entities, the statement said.

The government is also part of an Inter-Governmental Group that ensures collaboration and experience-sharing to effectively address tax risks associated with such leaks, it added.

“Names of only a few Indians (legal entities as well as individuals) have appeared so far in the media. Even the ICIJ website (www.icij.org) has not yet released the names and other particulars of all the entities. The website of ICIJ suggests that information will be released in phases and structured data connected to the Pandora Papers investigation will be released only in the days to come on its Offshore Leaks Database,” it said.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021