The multi-agency group (MAG) on Paradise Papers is looking to obtain more data on those Indians named in the global tax leaks before launching an investigation, the head of the probe panel said on Tuesday.
“Very sketchy information has come so far on these papers. Even the ICIJ website has said that they will upload complete details after November 15 about these persons. Once we get the details, we will start our investigations,” CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra said.
Chandra heads the MAG that comprises other probe and regulatory agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Reserve Bank of India and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
“Until and unless we know which year they (those named in the list) have opened the foreign company, which year the money has gone from here (India), it is futile to make an exercise now.
“Only when we have details, we will match them with returns and then we will take further action,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
The government had on November 6 announced that the MAG, that is already probing the Panama Papers leak, will monitor the probe and take “swift action” on the ‘Paradise Papers’ on financial holdings abroad that list a number of Indian entities.
The Paradise Papers relate to an investigation into offshore and banking assets of individuals and entities carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The CBDT had said that revelations made in the media in this context indicate that out of 180 countries represented in the data of offshore entities held by people of different nationalities, India ranks 19th in terms of number of names.
In all, 714 Indian entities and individuals figure in the list. The Paradise Papers include nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork over nearly 50 years from inside Appleby, a prestigious offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and other places.
Indians who figure in Paradise Papers include Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, defaulter businessman Vijay Mallya, corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, filmstar Sanjay Dutt’s wife Dilnashin, now known as Manyata, Union minister Jayant Sinha and Rajya Sabha MP R K Sinha, the report in the Indian Express, ICIJ’s media partner in the country, had said.
The leaked documents include files from the smaller, family-owned trust company, Asiaciti (Singapore), and from company registries in 19 secrecy jurisdictions.
The mention of names on the list does not mean that such entities have generated tainted money or evaded taxes.