Paradise Papers – based on the investigations done by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)] – indicate that out of 180 countries represented in the data of offshore entities held by persons of different nationalities, India ranks 19th in terms of number of names while 714 Indians appear in the list.
According to ICIJ, its network of more than 380 journalists spent 12 months sifting through more than 13.4 million documents related to Paradise Papers.
A statement issued by the Indian government on Monday said that the investigation units of the Income Tax Department (ITD) have been alerted to take note of revelations for immediate appropriate action.
Report on Corruption in India
A new “Freedom in the World 2017” report – released by Freedom House, a Washington-based independent watchdog organization – highlights rampant political and bureaucratic corruption in India. It reveals that corruption has a negative effect on government efficiency and economic performance.
“Though politicians and civil servants at all levels are regularly caught accepting bribes or engaging in other corrupt behavior, a great deal of corruption goes unnoticed and unpunished,” the report said in its findings. Click here to read the report.
It has been reported that many Indian cases of offshore entities are already under investigation on fast track. As soon as further information surfaces, swift action as per law will follow, the statement added.
The Paradise Papers, according to the government, include nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork over nearly 50 years from inside Appleby, an offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and beyond.
The leaked documents include files from the smaller, family-owned trust company, Asiaciti (Singapore), and from company registries in 19 secrecy jurisdictions.
Names of only a few Indians (legal entities as well as individuals) have appeared so far in the media. Even the ICIJ website 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 Paradise Papers investigation will be released only in the coming weeks on its Offshore Leaks Database.
The Indian government has directed that investigations in cases of Paradise Papers will be monitored through a reconstituted Multi Agency Group, headed by the Chairman, CBDT, having representatives from CBDT, ED, RBI, and FIU.
Photo courtesy: ICIJ
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