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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.

 

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Indrani Mukerjea files for divorce in a Mumbai court

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Mukerjea

Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, jailed in the murder case of Sheena Bora, filed for a divorce in a Mumbai court today. Mukerjea who is the owner of a TV channel has been lodged in the women’s jail in Byculla since she was arrested in the year 2015.

Indrani Mukerjea stated that the marriage had “irretrievably broken down”, had sent a notice of divorce to Peter Mukerjea this year.

A CBI court had earlier this month rejected her request for bail quoting ill-health and a “threat” to her life in prison.

Indrani Mukerjea’s daughter Sheena Bora from her first marriage was allegedly killed on 24th April 2012. The crime came surfaced after Shyamvar Rai, Mukerjea’s driver was arrested in another case in the year 2016 when he revealed an insider on it.

Indrani Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver were arrested for alleged murder.

Peter Mukerjea, her husband was arrested three months later after being allegedly part of the planning.

Mukerjea was sent to a hospital in June after she complained of chest pain. Months after her arrest, she was taken to the hospital in an unconscious state after a suspected case of drug overdose.

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Cops take out rally in Manipur to protest against mob violence

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The Manipur Human Rights Commission has directed the state director general of police to probe the matter and submit a report by September 22.

 

Imphal, Sep 18 (PTI) The Manipur Police Monday took out a rally from Moreh to Tengnoupal, along the India-Myanmar border, to protest incidents of mob violence in the state.

The “men in uniform”, numbering around 70 and led by Tengnoupal Superintendent of Police S Ibombcha Singh, was joined in by more than 500 volunteers of various civic bodies.

“The two-km peace rally – from Moreh police station to Tengnoupal district headquarters – was taken out to generate awareness about the need for maintenance of law and order in the society,” Ibomcha Singh told PTI.

A civil official, who did not wish to be named, said the peace rally was the first of its kind in the state.

The rally came four days after a 26-year-old man was lynched by an irate mob at Tharoijam area of Imphal West district on suspicion of being a vehicle lifter.

Local people had also set afire a car believed to have been used by “two of his associates”.

Five persons, including a havildar of India Reserve Battalion (IRB), have been arrested in this connection.

The purported video of the incident, which went viral on social media, showed that the four police personnel, including a sub-inspector, were “present at the spot when the victim was alive and lying unattended”, Imphal West SP Jogeshwar Haobijam had said.

While the sub-inspector was suspended, three other officers were terminated from their services.

Haobijam had also said that the Cyber Crime Unit was tracking individuals who had uploaded clips of the bleeding victim.

The lynching episode triggered sharp condemnations and sit-in protests by various social activists in the area.

The Manipur Human Rights Commission has directed the state director general of police to probe the matter and submit a report by September 22.

People in large numbers have also been organizing torch rallies here, demanding justice for the victim.

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Defence Minister approves procurement of military equipment worth Rs 9,100 crores

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The acquisition proposals were approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement.

 

New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) The Defence Ministry Tuesday accorded approval for procurement of military equipment and weapons worth Rs 9,100 crore, officials said.

The procurement will include two regiments of Aakash missile systems, they said.

The acquisition proposals were approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement.

The DAC also approved the design and development of test equipment for guided weapons systems for T90 tanks.

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