In a huge set back to the ongoing probe against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar’s husband, Deepak Kochhar, the British Virgin Islands has reportedly informed the Income Tax Department that details sought by it cannot be shared as it has been destroyed in a natural calamity.
The Income Tax Department, probing tax evasion by the Kochhars, suspected that money had been moved and received from Deepak Kochhar’s company NuPower Renewables to various foreign accounts in tax havens, and hence sent a letter of request (which is a formal request from an Indian court to a foreign court for some type of judicial assistance) to Mauritius, Singapore and British Virgin Islands.
Singapore replied to the queries, and the information given by them provided certain workable leads. Meanwhile, a reply from Mauritius is still awaited; however, the authorities aren’t too hopeful of getting a positive response from the island nation located in the Indian Ocean.
The British Virgin Islands, in its communication with Indian authorities said that information sough cannot be shared because they have suffered a natural calamity in which all the documents and storage devices have been washed away. What is interesting to note is that this is not the first time that the Caribbean island has cited a natural calamity as the reason behind failing to share information. In the past too, they have mentioned same or similar reasons, proving once again the stubbornness and unwillingness of tax havens to share information and protect their interests and reputation.
The Income Tax Department has established that money had been moved and received from NuPower Renewables (Kochhar’s company) to various foreign accounts. However, to check the purpose and legality of these funds, they had written to these three countries in order to gain further conclusive information on the same.