Politicians among 714 Indians in global tax evasion scam

New Delhi, Nov 6:  Minister of State Jayant Sinha, BJP MP Ravindra Kishore, Congress leader Sachin Pilot, former minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachhan figure among 714 Indians named in a financial data expose on how the world’s rich and powerful have stashed their wealth abroad to evade legitimate taxes, according to a worldwide investigation whose first lot of revelations was published on Monday.

India ranks 19th among 180 countries, exposed in the cache of 13.4 million documents dubbed as “Paradise Papers”, in terms of the number of individuals and companies who have skirted taxes and invested in offshore companies in tax havens.

It comes a year after Panama Papers leak and two days before the government observes “Anti-Black Money Day” to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation — a move that sought to hit at illicit wealth.

The data relates to two firms – Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti and 19 tax havens across the world that help the global rich to move their money abroad, according to the Indian Express which was part of the world-wide probe carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

“Interestingly, it is an Indian company, Sun Group, founded by Nand Lal Khemka, that figures as Appleby’s second-largest client internationally, with as many as 118 different offshore entities,” the newspaper said.

The leaked data indicates that among Appleby’s Indian clients were several prominent corporates and companies which subsequently came under the scrutiny of investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate.

These include firms in the Sun-TV-Aircel-Maxis case; Essar-Loop 2G case; SNS-Lavalin in which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was named and then cleared; the Rajasthan ambulance scam which has recently been routed to the CBI and which names a company called Ziquista Healthcare (Sachin Pilot and Karti Chidambaram were earlier honorary/independent directors of the firms respectively); and fresh financial links in a CBI case against YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

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