New Delhi, August 11: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday stated that tax authorities are conducting investigations into accounts mentioned in Panama papers, while replying to a debate on Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill which was passed by the upper House on Thursday.
“We first make our own investigations and on each one of those cases, whether it is Liechtenstein cases or HSBC cases or other cases which have come to the notice or the Panama, in each case, we have been touch with the regular authorities of the country where these accounts are,” he said.
Taking a dig at Pakistan, Jaitley said, “We have a rule of law. We do not have a system like the neighbouring country where you remove first and then have a trial.”
Notably, former Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif stepped down last month after the Supreme Court disqualified him for not disclosing his assets. Apex Court disqualified Sharif from office for not being honest and concealing assets. The probe against him began after his children were named in the leaked so-called Panama papers for owning off-shore accounts and properties.
During the reply, Jaitley said tax authorities are conducting investigations and prosecutions are being launched in cases where documents have been received.
“Prosecutions are being filed wherever documents are coming. Assessment proceedings are being cleared and there is no prohibition on publishing their names once the prosecutions are filed because they are filed in India in open court,” the finance minister said.
Jaitley said names are confidential as long as the matter is under investigation but the confidentiality clause ceases to exist once it reaches court.
Panama Papers scandal is an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.