Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the government has formed a multi-agency group to probe the Panama Papers expose – released in India by The Indian Express – saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself asked that the leaks be probed.
“PM Modi has himself requested that this matter be investigated… I think its a healthy step that these kinds of exposés are being made. All unlawful financial holdings abroad will face action,” Jaitley said, responding to The Indian Express report.
Jaitley said the multi-agency group will comprise CBDT and RBI officials and will monitor disclosures as well as act upon them.
His statement comes on a day when The Indian Express, based on leaked documents of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, reported that over 500 Indians including some well known names figure in the list of persons having association with firms in tax havens.
Jaitley said those who did not take advantage of the black money compliance window last year, to declare undisclosed overseas assets, will realise their mistake.
“I had come in for adverse comment including some of my friends here when in 2015 Budget we had announced a strong penal law against illegal assets abroad. At that stage I had said that those who committed mistakes in the past are getting last opportunity with a compliance window in place,” Jaitley said.
The Panama Papers is a result of an eight-month investigation, involving 25 Indian Express journalists along with 109 global partners including The Guardian and BBC (UK), Columbia University and Miami Herald (USA), Vedemosti (Russia), Le Monde (France), El Confidencial (Spain), ABC Four Corners (Australia), CBC/Radio (Canada), Daily Monitor (Uganda) and La Nación (Argentina).