Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said it has undertaken expeditious investigations into the Panama paper leaks and would take legal action depending upon the outcome of the probe.
The multi-agency group set up to look into the Panama papers, which named several Indians for stashing funds in the island nation, has been asked to report the progress of investigations on regular basis.
“Further course of action under the laws dealing with direct taxes, foreign exchange regulations etc depends upon outcome of the investigation in respective cases,” Jaitley said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
Panama papers in April 2016 disclosed a list of nearly 500 Indians, including celebrities and industrialists, who allegedly stashed money in offshore entities in Panama, considered to be a tax haven.
“The government has taken necessary measures for expeditious investigation, including through enhanced international cooperation, in the cases of Indian persons allegedly having undisclosed foreign assets and whose names are reportedly included in Panama papers leaks,” he said.
Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar in a separate reply informed that IT department has conducted 900 searches during the last two years during which assessees have admitted undisclosed income of Rs 21,354 crore.
During 2014-15 and 2015-16, the IT department has seized undisclosed assets worth Rs 1,474 crore, he said, adding “during the same period 9,457 surveys conducted resulted in detection of undisclosed income of Rs 22,475 crore.
“There has been significant rise in criminal prosecutions filed by the IT department also during the last two years and number of cases where prosecution complaints were filed and offences were compounded is 3,140 as against 1,690 in 2012-13 and 2013-14,” Gangwar said.
He said under the black money compliance window, 648 declarations involving undisclosed foreign assets worth Rs 4,164 crore were made. The amount collected by way of tax and penalty in such cases us about Rs 2,476 crore.
Jaitley said the government has taken several measures, both by way of policy level initiatives as well as through more effective enforcement action on the ground, to effectively deal with the issue of black money stashed abroad.
The multi-agency group set up by the government to look into Panama leaks consist of officers from CBDT, Enforcement Directorate, Financial Intelligence Unit and RBI.
“The group has been asked to report the progress in such cases on regular basis, Gangwar said in another reply.
“The government has taken necessary measures for expeditious investigation in such cases including through enhanced international cooperation,” Gangwar added.