Recently, information about certain offshore entities held by various Indian persons has appeared in media. Such information is attributed to be part of ‘Panama Papers’ leaks. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a Washington based organization which has reportedly made the revelations pertaining to the Panama Papers, has put a caveat on its website (www.icij.org) by mentioning that it should not be assumed that everyone who appears in the Panama Papers is involved in tax avoidance or evasion and there are legitimate reasons to create a company in an offshore jurisdiction and many people declare them to their tax authorities when that is required.
The Government has taken necessary measures for expeditious investigation in such cases including through enhanced international cooperation.
Determination of total volume of money that has been evaded by Indian persons in violation of laws/applicable regulations is subject matter of investigation and other follow-up actions, which is an on-going process. Such follow-up actions under direct taxes law include assessment of income, levy of tax, interest & penalty and filing of prosecution complaints before criminal courts, wherever applicable. Other law enforcement agencies such as Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation, etc. also take action in relevant cases under respective laws administered through them, depending upon facts of each case. However, details regarding the amount of money involved in all such cases are not maintained centrally.
This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha yesterday.