The Income Tax department has sent over 260 requests overseas seeking information in connection with its tax evasion probe in the Panama papers leak case. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also initiated investigations in 49 cases to probe the alleged contravention of forex laws by the entities named in this list under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), policy making body of the Income Tax department, has provided data on the status of investigations to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). “..on the basis of references for exchange of information received from various jurisdictional investigation directorates as on February 15, 266 requests have been sent to 18 foreign jurisdictions in the Panama paper cases,” the submission made by the CBDT before the panel stated.
So far the responses have been received in respect of 165 cases, which also include those where countries have sought further clarification, the submission said, adding that these cases along with those where final responses have been received are under examination.
According to CBDT, 424 names are under investigation in the case, with maximum (140) names from Mumbai followed by 105 from Delhi and 39 from Kolkata. Besides, 256 groups are also under the scanner with maximum of 84 groups from Mumbai followed by 55 from New Delhi.
The Panama papers refer to 11.5 million leaked documents published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with details of offshore entities set up by the law firm Mossack Fonseca over 40 years. Some of the entities set up by the law firm were shell corporations used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion and evading international sanctions.
The papers also included details of entities set up by over 500 Indian nationals. Meanwhile, the government has raised tax demand of Rs 5,419 crore on individuals who had undisclosed offshore accounts with HSBC of which around Rs 337 crore has been recovered.
Providing an update on the action taken in the HSBC list matter, the revenue department has informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament that 190 prosecution complaints have been filed against various entities.