I-T department slaps criminal charges under anti-black money Act
New Delhi: Stepping up the probe into the Panama Papers, the Income Tax Department has slapped criminal charges under the new anti-black money Act and launched new assessment of stashed offshore income against over half-a-dozen Indian entities in the list, official sources said.
They said the department has detected undisclosed assets and stashed funds located in foreign countries in case of seven individuals and entities named in the leaks and the taxman has begun investigations against them under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
Sources privy to the probe said the tax department has ordered fresh assessment and also re-assessment of the income of these entities and will soon launch criminal prosecution against all of them as the entities had allegedly not disclosed offshore properties to Indian tax and banking authorities in the past.
These are the first set of cases of undisclosed foreign assets which are being probed under the new anti-black money Act, which has criminal sections for prosecution under the law.
Under the new anti-black money law cases of illegal overseas assets, which till recently were probed under the regular and civil Income Tax Act of 1961, attract a steep 120 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.
Prosecution of these seven entities under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) would also be initiated in the coming days, as the anti-black money Act of 2015 qualifies to be a predicate offence for money laundering investigations, they said. The sources refused to divulge the identities of the seven entities citing the overriding global tax information exchange secrecy clauses between various countries.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has recently said that investigations in the Panama Papers leak cases till now have resulted in the I-T Department detecting undisclosed wealth of Rs 792 crore so far and the probe in these cases is on in "full swing".
Over a year after the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made the documents public, the CBDT said it had found 147 of the total 426 cases "actionable".
The department also conducted searches in 35 cases and surveys in 11, the CBDT had said.