ED,FIU to investigate offshore investors

The ED will ask RBI if those named had obtained the central bank’s permission for their investments,finance ministry sources said.

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | New Delhi | Published:April 6, 2013 3:41 am

A day after The Indian Express exposé about Indians making investments and opening companies in tax havens,the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Friday decided to investigate if the 20 cases named in the report had violated laws.

The ED will ask RBI if those named had obtained the central bank’s permission for their investments,finance ministry sources said.

The FIU,the nodal agency responsible for securing information from foreign intelligence agencies on financial matters,will try to gather information about the bank accounts and the investment profile of the companies and trusts of which the individuals mentioned in the 20 cases are direct beneficiaries.

The FIU will also look into bank transactions from India by these individuals and their entities to these tax havens.

The foreign exchange management act restricts the amount which individuals or companies can transfer without prior permission from RBI through the automatic route.

The exposé was part of a global media probe by Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its partners into offshore investments and secret financial transactions.

It found 612 Indians among thousands around the world with investments in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands,the Cook Islands and Samoa.

Among the 20 named were Congress MP Vivekanand Gaddam and industrialists Ravikant Ruia,Samir Modi,Chetan Burman,Abhey Kumar Oswal,Rahul Mammen Mappillai,Teja Raju,Saurabh Mittal,Vinod Doshi and Vijay Mallya,who is also a Rajya Sabha member.

“Once we receive the data from offshore accounts,FIU will disseminate the information to various agencies such as the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Income-Tax so that these agencies can verify if these entities have made full disclosures,” a senior official said.

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