The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized Rs 88 lakh belonging to a businessman whose name had figured in the Panama Papers leak for floating an offshore entity in the British Virgin Islands. Last week, the agency raided premises associated with Sanjay Vijay Shinde who was previously associated with Goa’s premier industrial group Dempo Holdings.
The raids were carried out at four premises based in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal and in Goa as part of a money laundering case the ED has registered against Shinde.
“Name of Sanjay Vijay Shinde figured in the Panama Paper Leaks, wherein, names of various individuals were revealed who had beneficial interests in various offshore entities. Sanjay Vijay Shinde had beneficial interests in a British Virgin Islands-based offshore entity, in whose Singapore-based bank account, more than Rs 31 crore was deposited by various offshore entities,” the ED said in a statement on Friday.
The matter was initially investigated by the income tax department which filed a prosecution complaint – equivalent to a chargesheet – against Shinde under provisions of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. Subsequently, an investigation under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 was initiated by the ED.
“Searches were conducted at the four premises related to Sanjay Vijay Shinde. These include the residential premises at Goa & Bhopal, the premises of his the then employer M/s VS Dempo Holdings Pvt Ltd, Goa and the premises of M/s RPM Sonic Adventures & M/s Caravan Resorts at Bhopal, MP,” the ED said, adding that Rs 88.30 Lakh in cash and various incriminating documents were recovered from the premises.
According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which published the leaks in collaboration with The Indian Express in India, Shinde, a director at Venus Bay Offshore Ltd with its registered address at Patel Estate, Betim Bardez, Goa, made the investments in BVI around 2008.
He is said to be holding accounts with Portcullis Trustnet (BVI) Limited and UBS-Ag, Singapore.
Sources said Shinde is an iron ore commission agent and runs an import-export business as well. He used to provide consultancy to iron ore traders and charged commissions on iron ore deals struck between foreign and Indian companies. It is suspected that he laundered these commissions, allegedly received in black money, to BVI to evade taxes.
Shinde has varied business interests, which include adventure sports, exotic resorts and kart racing across Bhopal and Goa.
Earlier employed with the mining arm of Dempo Group of companies, Shinde was absorbed in the coal business in Indonesia after the mining business was sold to Vedanta. He worked with the Dempo group from 2007 to 2010. He was stationed in Indonesia where the group then ran a coal business which was later closed. He left the Dempo group in 2010.
A senior official of the company said, “They (ED) only visited our corporate office in Panaji. They have gone through some documents and they were completely satisfied that we have no connection with what the ex-employee had done.”