Multi-agency group to probe illegal offshore accounts
The Centre on Monday set up a multi-agency group to probe “unlawful” accounts held abroad. Talking to reporters, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the issue with him and on his advice the group has been set up comprising agencies like Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), RBI and FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit). The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money, he said, will investigate Indians who have allegedly stashed money in offshore entities in tax haven Panama.
Offshore investments made by Indians between a period of 1977 and 2015 are under the scanner. A media report based on leaked documents of a Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca which is said to feature links of over 500 Indians to firms and accounts in offshore tax havens. This included top Bollywood actors, leading real estate tycoons and a number of other industrialists and their family members, most of whom have denied any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money on Monday said it will investigate thoroughly the reported secret list of about 500 prominent Indians . SIT Chairman Justice MB Shah said that investigation was being carried out in the matter. The Vice Chairman of the panel, Justice Arijit Pasayat, said that the SIT has asked Enforcement Directorate, IT Department and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to make an assessment of the list and prepare a report in this regard. He said, once they submit a report to it, required action will be taken.