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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Daily Briefing: Anil Ambani, Tendulkar among Indians named in Pandora Papers; 4 farmers killed in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was among eight persons arrested in Mumbai by the NCB in connection with an alleged drugs bust on a cruise ship.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 4, 2021 2:20:38 pm
Top news, Top news, today, Daily briefing, Lakhimpur kheri, Pandora papers, Rahul Gandhi, Lakhimpur deaths, Kashmir civilians, Climate change, Indian expressA look at the top news today, October 11, 2021.

Good morning,

Pandora Papers

In part-1 of Pandora Papers, the most voluminous leak of offshore financial records ever, The Indian Express carried out a year-long investigation to reveal how individuals and businesses set up complex multi-layered trust structures for estate planning, in jurisdictions that are loosely regulated for tax purposes, but characterised by air-tight secrecy laws.

In February 2020, following a dispute with three Chinese state-controlled banks, Anil Ambani told a London court that his net worth was zero. Records in the Pandora Papers investigated by The Indian Express reveal that the chairman of Reliance ADA Group and his representatives own at least 18 offshore companies. Set up between 2007 and 2010, seven of these companies have borrowed and invested at least $1.3 billion.

A financial advisor and his company were barred by SEBI from trading in the stock market for a year and fined for insider trading in Biocon Ltd shares. What the marker regulator did not know is that the same advisor is the ‘Protector’ of a trust set up by a company owned by Biocon Executive Chairperson’s husband.

Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar, along with members of his family, figures in the Pandora Papers as Beneficial Owners of an offshore entity in the British Virgin Islands which was liquidated in 2016. Sachin, with wife Anjali Tendulkar and father-in-law Anand Mehta are named as BOs and Directors of a BVI-based company.

Captain Satish Sharma, Congress leader, friend of the Gandhi family, and a former Union Minister who passed away in February this year, had offshore entities and properties abroad, the Pandora Papers show. At least 10 members of Sharma’s family including his wife Sterre, children and grandchildren are among the beneficiaries of a trust, the Jan Zegers Trust — a declaration Sharma never made to the Election Commission while filing poll nomination papers.

A month before fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi fled India in January 2018, his sister Purvi Modi set up a firm in the British Virgin Islands to act as a corporate protector of a trust formed through the Trident Trust Company, Singapore. Records investigated by The Indian Express show that the firm, Brookton Management Ltd, was set up in December 2017 to act as the corporate protector of The Deposit Trust. These documents of the new firm and the trust set up by Purvi are part of the Pandora Papers.

Pandora Papers: Tax havens and service providers.

Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff was the prime beneficiary of a trust set up in New Zealand by his mother-in-law, records in the Pandora Papers investigated by The Indian Express reveal. He also made “substantial contributions” to this trust, which had a Swiss bank account and owned an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands, records show. According to the memorandum concerning the trust, Shroff’s son Jai Shroff (Tiger Shroff) and daughter Krishna Shroff were the beneficiaries, besides Claudia Dutt, the mother of Shroff’s wife Ayesha.

Other big stories

Four farmers were among eight persons killed Sunday in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri after a convoy of three SUVs, including one owned by Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, hit a group of farm protesters leading to a clash. Following the incident, farm leaders called for the “arrest of the Minister and his son” who, they said, was driving one of the SUVs. They also called for a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and said they would hold protests in all districts today to demand punishment for the guilty.

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was among eight persons arrested in Mumbai by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with an alleged drugs bust on a cruise ship. The central agency said the total recovery in this case was 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone, 22 pills of MDMA (Ecstasy) — all categorised as “intermediate quantities” — and 21 grams of charas, which falls in the category of “small quantity”. Khan’s lawyer, meanwhile, has said that there was no possession or consumption alleged against the 23-year-old.

And Finally…

In Miyapur village in north Karnataka’s Koppal district, a Dalit resident, Chandrashekar Shivappadasara, was recently fined Rs 25,000 after his three-year-old son strayed into a local temple. Discrimination against Dalits is rampant across this region. What Shivappadasara’s family faced was the fifth instance of caste discrimination-linked conflict in the Koppal district in recent times. The other significant incidents include the killing of a Dalit boy over a relationship with an OBC girl and an imposition of a Rs-11,000 penalty on a 24- year-old Dalit man for entering a temple. Local residents say atrocities against Dalits tend to be highly under-reported.

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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