Three weeks after the release of the Panama Papers in The Indian Express, the Income Tax Department Tuesday conducted “surveys” in business establishments of three Delhi-based individuals who had incorporated offshore companies through law firm Mossack Fonseca. Officials said that the persons chosen for the first set of surveys were those who had, in their written responses to officials, outright denied any association with the offshore companies listed against their names.
The searches, officials said, began at three places around noon Tuesday and were on until late in the night. Senior officials confirmed to The Indian Express that documents, desktop and laptop computers were seized.
It is understood that a public relations professional who has recently started a hospital; an entrepreneur couple who traded in iron ore in China and a businessman who runs a service providing company for multinationals are the ones whose offices and business establishments were surveyed. While the first two were identified as those who had opened offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, the third businessman set up a company in the United Arab Emirates. As reported earlier, the Income Tax department had sent queries to all individuals named in the ongoing investigation by The Indian Express as part of the Panama Papers. Along with the standard queries sent nationwide, a set of specific questions asking for details of declarations and permissions (obtained to float off-shore firms) was also sent. As of now, over 160 individuals named in the Panama Papers probe have been identified for scrutiny.