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‘Paradise Paper’ : 714 Indian names crop up having offshore companies in tax heavens

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After Panama Paper leak, this new set of data contains 13.4 million document. Interestingly, Amitabh Bachchan’s name has come up in this investigation as well.

Eighteen months after the controversial Panama Paper leaks which exposed tax evasion by many influential individuals around the world, a new set of data has been released exposing more names. The two names which have cropped up in the entire investigation are Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti, offshore law firms. These firms helped the rich and influential people around the world to move their money in 19 tax heavens.

The data named “Paradise Papers” contained cache of 13.4 million documents. A German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained the data which was later investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) working in partnership with 96 news organisations. In India, The Indian Express investigated these records

According to the Indian Express report, Bermuda law firm Appleby is a 119 year- old company which has global network of lawyers, accountants, bankers and other operatives.  These professionals help their clients to set up offshore companies. Through these companies, they avoid or evade taxes; manage real estate assets; open escrow accounts; purchase airplanes and yachts paying low tax rates; or, simply, use offshore vehicles to move millions across the globe.

Indian names in Paradise paper:

Individuals and corporations from 180 countries are listed in the data. In the data found, India ranks as high as 19th with 714 Indians in the tally. According to the report Indian company, Sun Group, is Appleby’s second-largest client internationally, with about 118 different offshore entities.

Many of the Indian clients of Appleby have time and again faced scrutiny from investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Following are the names which came up in the investigation:

  • Firms in the Sun-TV-Aircel-Maxis case; Essar-Loop 2G case;
  • SNC-Lavalin in which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was named, then cleared;
  • Ziquista Healthcare which was allegedly involved in Rajasthan ambulance scam (Sachin Pilot and Karti Chidambaram were early Honorary/Independent Directors of the firm respectively)
  • Congress Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

 

  • Amitabh Bachchan’s shareholding in a Bermuda company acquired before the 2004

 

  • Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia

 

  • Film star Sanjay Dutt’s wife who figures under her former name Dilnashin.

 

  • Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha’s name.

 

  • BJP Rajya Sabha MP and founder of Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) R K Sinha with records of offshore companies linked to him.

 

  •  Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, having millions of dollars-worth of loans taken by offshore companies of United Spirits Limited India were waived by Diageo (the company which finally acquired USL).

 

  • GMR Group which was raided last year by the Income Tax Department.

 

  • Other prominent Indian corporates which figure in the Appleby database include Jindal Steel, Apollo Tyres, Havells, Hindujas, Emaar MGF, Videocon, the Hiranandani Group and D S Construction.

Global names came up in the investigation:

  • Russian firm’s investments in Twitter and Facebook
  • Ties between Russia and US President Donald Trump’s billionaire commerce secretary Wilbur Ross
  • Secret dealings of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser
  • Offshore interests of the Queen of England
  • More than 120 politicians, including former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

 

National

Shakitikanta Das to be the new RBI governor

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Shaktikanta

New Delhi | Former Economic Affairs Secretary Shakikanta Das is likely to be the next Reserve Bank of India Governor after the resignation of Urjit Patel on December 10.

Shaktikanta Das, a retired 1980 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu cadre was the member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission of India, and India’s Sherpa to G20. Das also worked as Union Economic Affairs Secretary, Union Revenue Secretary, Union Fertilizers Secretary, special secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance and as a joint secretary in the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance in the Indian government.

Earlier Urjit Patel on December 10 resigned from the post of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor. Patel’s three year team was to end in September 2019. Patel is also the first RBI governor to resign since 1990.

Submitting his resignation, Urjit Patel cited personal reasons and stepped down with immediate effect. He said, “On account of personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately. It has been my privilege and honour to serve in the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities over the years,” Urjit Patel said in a statement. “The support and hard work of RBI staff, officers and management has been the proximate driver of the Bank’s considerable accomplishments in recent years. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to my colleagues and Directors of the RBI Central Board, and wish them all the best for the future,” he added.

 

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Four policemen killed by terrorists in J-K’s Shopian; weapons snatched

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Jaish-e-Mohammed

Srinagar | Four policemen were killed on Tuesday when Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists attacked a guard post outside a minority pocket in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, officials said.

The attack took place this afternoon when four policemen were sitting in a pre-fabricated room outside the pocket that houses six Kashmiri Pandit families.

A senior police official said that six Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were led by former Special Police Officer Adil Bashir, who deserted in October and decamped eight weapons from a PDP legislator.

Quoting eyewitnesses, the police officer said that militants fired indiscriminately, killing three policemen on the spot and critically injuring one.

The injured policeman was rushed to an Army hospital, where he also succumbed to injuries, the official said.

The deceased have been identified as Anees Ahmad, Hamidullah, Mehraj ud Din and Abdul Majeed.

At the time of the incident, only one family was present at the minority pocket.

Immediately after the shootout, the terrorists fled with three Self Loading Rifles (SLRs) of the policemen, the official said, adding a cordon and search operation has been launched to nab the criminals.

The official said that an intercept had been received in which it was clear that Jaish-e-Mohammed, a banned terrorist organisation, was behind the barbaric act.

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National

PM Modi may visit Tripura in Feb to inaugurate projects: Officials

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Narendra Modi

Agartala | Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Tripura in February to inaugurate several development projects, including an upgraded cancer centre, a government official said. The regional centre, which offers treatment to more than 2,000 cancer patients annually, is set to have a new building and modern equipment, he said.

According to government reports, 3,786 patients succumbed to cancer between 2013 and 2016 in the state.

Sanjoy Mishra, the media adviser to chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, said a high-level meeting was convened Monday to review progress in the cancer hospital project. “The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Tripura in February to inaugurate several developmental projects. The newly built building at the cancer centre is one of them. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday reviewed the progress of the construction work at the centre,” Mishra said.

Chief Secretary LK Gupta, Public Works Department (PWD) secretary Manoj Kumar, and Health and Family Welfare secretary Samarjit Bhowmik were among those who attended Monday’s meeting, he said. “The CM would be visiting New Delhi tomorrow (Wednesday) and meet the prime minister to discuss various issues, including the inauguration of the cancer hospital building,” Mishra told reporters.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2016-17), 40 percent of all cancer patients in the northeast suffer from head and neck malignancy, mainly caused by tobacco consumption.

Tripura tops in tobacco use in the region with 64.5 percent patients in the state admitting to nicotine consumption, the report added.

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