The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to issue fresh notices to more than 45 Indian entities named in the Panama Papers list on charges of possible forex law violations, official sources today said. The agency, they said, is investigating about 46 “actionable” cases of Indians on this global leaks list for possible violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The central probe agency will soon issue notices to about three dozen entities soon, they said. The agency, one of the members of the multi-agency group (MAG) of investigative agencies on Panama Papers, will also submit a report of this action to this panel that will subsequently forward a consolidated report for review to the Prime Ministers Office (PMO). The ED has already initiated the action of “seizing of assets” under the FEMA law in few such cases. “Out of the 46 actionable cases given to the ED, only a few are of the nature of serious violations. “A coordinated action plan is being undertaken by the agencies on-board the MAG and the ED action is one among them,” a senior Finance Ministry official said.
The Panama Papers, released last year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), contains brief particulars of 426 people, prima facie, Indians or persons of Indian origin. The Income Tax Department has said that it has found 147 of the total of 426 of these cases “actionable”. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy- making body of the tax department, has recently said investigations in the Panama Papers till now has resulted in detection of undisclosed wealth of Rs 792 crore so far and the probe in these cases is on in “full swing”.
The government had constituted a MAG, headed by the CBDT Chairman, of investigative agencies in April last year to probe these entities. The MAG has so far submitted seven reports to the government. The I-T Department has recently slapped criminal charges under the new anti-black money Act and has launched fresh assessment of stashed offshore income against over half-a- dozen Indian entities named on the list.