Investigations in the Panama Papers cases have resulted in the Income Tax Department detecting undisclosed wealth of about Rs 792 crore in 147 actionable cases out of 426 so far, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement Monday. This is the first time the government has revealed the amount of money under the scanner after The Indian Express published a series of investigative reports in April 2016, based on data of offshore entities set up by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca for over 500 Indian nationals.
Monday’s CBDT statement also assumes significance against the backdrop of the new series of reports in The Indian Express, titled Paradise Papers, based on data leaked from two firms Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti with 19 tax havens across the world.
Like the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers is an investigative project jointly pursued by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and Suddeutsche Zeitung and nearly 100 media organisations, including The Indian Express.
The CBDT said that out of the 147 actionable cases, searches have been conducted in 35 cases and surveys in 11 cases along with five criminal prosecution complaints being filed. Notices under Section 10 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income & Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, have been issued for seven cases, it said. “Further investigation in all the cases is in progress,” the CBDT said.
It said that the multi-agency group (MAG) of investigative agencies set up by the government in April last year to probe cases related to Panama Papers has so far submitted seven reports.
“The Income Tax Department conducted enquiries in all 426 cases, inter alia, through making 395 references to 28 foreign jurisdictions. Based on analysis of the information obtained and investigation conducted, the outcome so far indicates 147 actionable cases and 279 non-actionable cases (non-residents/or no irregularities),” it said.