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Paradise Papers live updates: Congress demands Jayant Sinha to resign, calls for high-level probe

Paradise Papers live updates: The Indian Express investigates the largest ever leak of financial data, two days ahead of the Government's "Anti-Black Money Day" on November 8 to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: November 6, 2017 9:07:09 pm
 Paradise Papers, Paradise Papers live updates, Indian Express paradise papers, ICIJ, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Donald Trump, Indians in Paradise Papers, Indian Express LIVE updates on the Paradise Papers: Among the 180 countries represented in the data, India ranks 19th in terms of the number of names. In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally.

The Paradise Papers, a cache of 13.4 million documents obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in partnership with The Indian Express, reveals how two firms Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti Trust help the global rich and powerful move their money abroad.

Among the 180 countries represented in the data, India ranks 19th in terms of the number of names. In all, there are 714 Indians in the tally.

Paradise Papers: Biggest data leak reveals trails of Indian corporates in global secret tax havens

Paradise Papers: Click here to read our full coverage

Paradise Papers live updates: 

09.00 pm: Panama Papers probe on in full swing; Rs 792 crore undisclosed income detected till now, says CBDT

05.40 pm: A multi-agency group (MAG) probing the Panama Papers leak will look into the ‘Paradise Papers’ on financial holdings abroad that list a number of 714 Indian individuals and entities, PTI reported quoting official sources.

3.00 pm: In reply to a question on the sons of former Congress union ministers figuring in the global index, Surjewala said the party is ready to face any probe. Former union minister Vayalar Ravi’s son Ravi Krishna and M Veerappa Moily’s son Harsha Moily figured in the list.

2.30 pm: The Congress, citing conflict of interest, has demanded MoS Jayant Sinha to step down from his position. They also demanded the government to file an FIR against him and order a detailed probe.

On Sachin Pilot’s name figuring in the Paradise Papers, Congress said the ED and CBI are already investigating the Rajasthan ambulance.

2.00 pm: We have our first reaction: The Congress attacked the Modi-led government for failing to unearth black money stashed abroad since coming to power. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: ” Modi government has so far not made public names of those who have stashed black money abroad.”

12.00 pm: Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan was a shareholder in a digital media company incorporated in Bermuda. He made the investment after hosting the first season of the TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati in 2000-01. READ MORE

11.30 am: What are the Paradise Papers? Why Paradise Papers matter?

How are Paradise Papers different from Offshore Leaks (2013), Swiss Leaks (2015) and Panama Papers (2016)?

All questions answered here

11.00 am: Electrical appliances company Havells India floated over 50 offshore subsidiaries, most of them in tax havens, since February 2000. In a bid to expand its business worldwide, Havells India Ltd set up Havell’s Holdings Ltd in the Isle of Man. It in turn invested EUR 141.25 million in Havells Malta that facilitated its global spread — 52 subsidiaries across Europe, Latin America and Asia.

10.45 am: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s wife Dilnashin Sanjay Dutt, popularly known as Manyata, held several positions in a Bahamas-registered firm Nasjay Company Limited. A spokesperson for Manyata Dutt said: “As per the requirements of provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961, all the properties, company or body corporate or shares in any company are declared in the balance sheet.”

10.30 am: In a case of potential conflict-of-interest, the chairman of Fortis-Escorts, Dr Ashok Seth held shares in a Singapore-listed company that manufactures stents.

He bought 2,55,000 shares for $90,000 and sold them for approximately” Rs 1.03 crore. He made a profit of Rs 54 lakh on the purchase. READ MORE

10.15 am: Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, who was at the centre of a controversy in 2010 over intercepted phone conversations that came to be known as the Radia Tapes and suggested that she used her proximity to some journalists and politicians to try and influence ministerial appointments in UPA II, was part of two offshore companies in Malta. READ MORE

10.00 am: Documents accessed by The Indian Express show that funds amounting to over $1.5 billion were diverted using four offshore subsidiaries of United Spirits Limited India, a company formerly owned by wanted fugitive Vijay Mallya.

After Diageo group bought USL India from Mallya, it undertook a restructuring process to get rid of these three intermediate subsidiaries and so, effectively, ended up waiving the $1.5-billion debt owed by these subsidiary companies.

The $1.5-billion loan waiver and the novation seems to have resulted in Mallya taking away much more than the Rs 1,225 crore that Diageo reported to BSE – the amount actually works out to around Rs 10,000 crore going by Appleby documents. READ MORE

9.45 am: In the years when Veerappa Moily was Union Minister in the UPA Government, his son Harsha Moily floated a firm which received investments from a Mauritius-based firm, Unitus Impact PCC.  His company  Moksha-Yug Access Private Limited, received funds from MYA Unitus Impact Partners, one of the two cells of Unitus Impact PCC. READ MORE

Harsha Moily’s response to The Indian Express story:

“Having founded MYA and led the company as its CEO since its inception in 2005, I have seen MYA experience growth as well as face significant challenges in operating an impact business in rural India. The dairy/ agri space is extremely volatile, but it is a critical sector for rural India and we worked hard to make our business model work.

MYA has always had a farmer-first approach, and our objective has always been to ensure that our dairy farmers be benchmarked with the best in the world in terms of productivity (quality and quantity of milk per cow) and that economic growth be balanced with human progress. With this primary objective, it was imperative that MYA raise external investment from professional investors in the impact investment space including by Unitus Impact PCC – MYA UIP, the investment vehicle set up by Unitus Impact to make investments into MYA (they led an investment round in 2011). Please also note that we have raised capital from a range of other professional institutional investors such as Unitus Equity Fund and Khosla Impact (both of whom originally invested in 2008) through their investment vehicles, with much of the overall equity investment into MYA having started even before my father became a Union Minister in UPA II.”

9.30 am: BJP MP Ravindra Kishore Sinha’s response to The Indian Express story: “These companies are indirect 100% subsidiaries of Security and Intelligence Services (India) Limited in which I am a shareholder. I have no direct interest in these companies except to the extent of my shareholding in Security and Intelligence Services (India) Limited. As these companies are indirect subsidiaries of Security and Intelligence Services (India) Limited, I am also a director in these entities. Due to the prevailing regulation in these countries, which require any company to have at least two shareholders, I hold 1 share each in these companies for which the beneficial interest has been declared in favour of Security and Intelligence Services (India) Limited and SIS International Holdings Limited, the 100% shareholders of SIS International Holdings Limited and SIS Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd respectively. These matters have been fully disclosed in the various filings with SEBI as a part of the IPO of Security and Intelligence Services (India) Limited.”

9.00 am: BJP MP Ravindra Kishore Sinha, who founded the private secuirty firm SIS, heads a group which has two offshore companies. Records accessed by The Indian Express show that SIS Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd (SAPHL) and SIS International Holdings Limited (SIHL) are the two subsidiaries of SIS.

Sinha, however, did not mention this in his nomination for the Rajya Sabha election in 2014. But in documents of SIS (India) Limited filed before the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on August 4, 2017, Sinha declared his interests in all these companies.  READ MORE

8.30 am:  Karti Chidambaram told The Indian Express: “I was briefly a Non Executive Independent Director with the company and have never been a shareholder. And as far as I know Ziqitza Health Care never had any off shore operations. A company with off shore operations may have invested in them.”

For his part, Sachin Pilot said that once the company changed its status from a “non-profit” venture to a “for-profit” venture, he resigned from it and did so before he became a Member of Parliament in 2004. He said: “For under a year I was a Honorary Director with the company. This was in 2001. When they informed me that they have become a for profit company I resigned. I have never held a share in it, held a board meeting or signed any papers.”

8.00 am: Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot; Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram; former Union minister Sachin Pilot; and, Ravi Krishna, son of former Union minister Vayalar Ravi, are linked to Ziqitza Health Care Limited which is being probed by ED and CBI for various economic offences.Ziqitza, in turn, raised money from Global Medical Response of India Limited which was registered in Mauritius on March 26 2008 by Appleby and classified as “high risk profile”. READ MORE

7.30 am: Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has responded to his name figuring in the Paradise Papers investigation. This is what he tweeted early this morning:

“Full details have been provided to Indian Express. These were bonafide and legal transactions undertaken on behalf of highly reputed world-leading organisations in my fiduciary role as Partner at Omidyar Network and its designated representative on the D.Light Board. All these transactions have been fully disclosed to relevant authorities through all necessary filings as required. After leaving Omidyar Network, I was asked to continue on the D.Light Board as an Independent Director. On joining the Union Council of Ministers, I immediately resigned from the D.Light Board and severed my involvement with the company. It is crucial to note that these transactions were done for D.Light as an Omidyar representative, and not for any personal purpose.”


7.25 am: Welcome to our live blog on the Paradise Papers. The Indian Express investigation into the largest ever leak of financial data comes two days ahead of the Government’s “Anti-Black Money Day” on November 8 to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation.

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