It is called Swiss Leaks — a trove of secret documents from HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm that reveals names of account holders and their balances for the year 2006-07. They come from over 200 countries, the total balance over $100 billion. But nowhere has the HSBC Swiss list touched off a more raging political debate than in India.
That’s why to obtain and investigate the Indian names, The Indian Express partnered in a three-month-long global project with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Paris-based Le Monde newspaper. The investigation revealed 1,195 Indian HSBC clients, roughly double the 628 names that French authorities gave to the Government in 2011. The new revelation— published today as part of a global agreement — is expected to significantly widen the scale and scope of the ongoing probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court.
Prominent people on the HSBC list include:
Several top businessmen are HSBC account-holders. They include Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Anand Chand Burman, Rajan Nanda, Yashovardhan Birla, Chandru Lachhmandas Raheja, Dattaraj Salgaocar, Bhadrashyam Kothari and Shravan Gupta.
Top diamond traders of the country, several of whom are now settled abroad, figure on the list, with mostly Mumbai addresses given. Among them, Rusell Mehta, Anoop Mehta, Saunak Parikh, Chetan Mehta, Govindbhai Kakadia and Kunal Shah.
There are a few account holders with political connections, most of whom deny having accounts. There is former UPA minister Preneet Kaur, former Congress MP Annu Tandon and family members of former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane — his wife Neelam Narayan Rane and son Nilesh Rane — as well as family members of the late Congress minister Vasant Sathe. Bal Thackeray’s daughter-in-law Smita Thackeray is also listed as an account holder.
Several prominent names include Swraj Paul, members of Manu Chhabria’s family, Rajendra Ruia/Vimal Ruia and Naresh Kumar Goyal.