As a multi-agency probe continues into leaked ‘Panama Papers’ showing alleged offshore tax haven holdings of Indians, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said “Congress will not have many reasons to celebrate” when the details come out in this case.
“There is a very impartial probe going on and it is a multi-agency probe. When the details of the probe come out, the Congress will not have many reasons to celebrate,” Jaitley said.
The Congress has earlier said any probe conducted by government agencies into the Panama Papers expose will have no ‘credibility’ and reiterated its demand for an apex-court monitored special investigation team (SIT). The party said an SIT should probe against those whose names have cropped up in the Panama Papers case till date.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a multi-agency probe into the global expose by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), dubbed the “Panama Papers”, which found more than 500 Indians had alleged offshore links.
Targeting Jaitley, the Congress has also demanding that in order to ensure free and fair investigation, he should recuse himself from the probe. Commenting on the Congress’ demands, Jaitley said, “I am not able to understand their argument.”
The BJP leader was in Kolkata to campaign for party candidates for the Assembly elections in Bengal.
On the steel sector, Jaitley said it has started turning around as a result of the government’s measures to protect domestic supply of steel from cheap Chinese products.
“The steel sector was suffering from the cheap Chinese steel coming in at below-cost prices. So, we raised the customs duty, imposes safe guard duty and we also imposed the minimum import price. As a result of all the measures, the steel sector started turning around,” he said.
Import of total finished steel was at 11.20 million tonne in 2015-16, up 20.2% compared to the year-ago period. Imports in March stood at 0.994 mt, up 18.2% against March 2015.
In February, the government had imposed the minimum import price condition on imports of 173 steel items covering all major flat and long products.