The multi-agency group probing the Panama Papers will be reconstituted to monitor a probe and take “swift action” on Paradise Papers which uncover financial holdings abroad that list a number of Indian entities, the Finance Ministry said today. The announcement came hours after the release of the first set of Indian corporates in the ongoing investigation by The Indian Express in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Paradise Papers are the largest ever leak of corporate data of financial transactions related to offshore firms in secret tax havens.
The publication “was a great development because it shows that (now) nothing remains a secret,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaking to The Indian Express. “With this, the secrecy of tax havens and transactions done through them have been smashed. The worldwide publication also shows that those who think they are indulging in what they think are undercover financial transactions are highly mistaken. What has happened (the publication of the Paradise Papers) is a very good development for India and this will further encourage cooperation between countries on financial matters at an international level. It is a step towards further Group headed by CBDT with ED, RBI and FIU will probe Paradise Papers transparency and cooperation.”
His views were echoed by Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Sushil Chandra who will head the Paradise probe team which will have representatives from CBDT, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Reserve Bank of India and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Chandra told The Indian Express: “The Tax Department has already been put on the job and the tax profile of all the Indians named in the Paradise Papers will now be put under scrutiny. All cases will be put under examination, just as they were in the Panama Papers published last year.”