oppn parties The Pandora Papers: Shady Deals And Hidden Wealth

News Snippets

  • EMI's set to rise after the RBI hikes key policy rate
  • Calcutta HC says that the right to privacy does not end with the death of a person
  • Supreme Court says that a delayed order of preventive detention makes it invalid
  • Shashi Tharoor posts an erronous map of India in his manifesto, rectifies the error after criticism
  • Sonia Gandhi to take a call on who will be Rajasthan chief minister
  • Mallikarujun Kharge to be the new candidate to oppose Shashi Tharoor in the Congress presidential elections
  • RBI says that the September inflation rate may be higher than 7%
  • RBI hikes key rates by 50bps, downwardly revises FY23 growth rate to 7% from 7.2% earlier
  • Stocks recover well on Friday: Sensex gains 1016 points to0 57426 and Nifty 276 points to 17094
  • Mirabai Chanu wins gold easily at the National Games
  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
RBI hikes key rates by 50bps, stocks jump and recover 50% of the losses incurred in the last few session
oppn parties
The Pandora Papers: Shady Deals And Hidden Wealth

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2021-10-05 07:07:58

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a Washington DC based organization, has been working with 140 media outlets worldwide on its biggest ever global investigation into the hidden wealth of the rich and powerful across the globe. More than 600 journalists in 117 countries have been scanning files in the more than 12 million documents from 14 sources for several months to make sense of the web of shell companies and complicated financial transactions made in tax havens and to link them to the real beneficiaries. These have now been revealed to the world in what have come to be known as the Pandora Papers.

Several Indian entities - individuals, companies, trusts and others - are reportedly on the list. The government has taken serious note of the same and has said that a multi-agency team headed by the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and including officers from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the income tax department, Financial Intelligence Unit and the RBI will probe the charges. This is good as the guilty persons and entities, which have transferred their wealth abroad through unfair means and have hidden it to deny the country the taxes due on income from such assets, must be brought to book. Although this is not the first time that such a disclosure has been made (there was the Offshore Leaks in 2013, the Panama Papers in 2016 and the Paradise Papers in 2017), it is by far the biggest.

Most such investigations almost always fail to reveal much. Although the government has said that it will seek information from foreign jurisdictions, getting relevant information from tax havens is difficult, if not impossible. The government also said that a result of the probes in the Panama and Paradise papers, it had discovered undisclosed income to the tune of Rs 20,352crore. Since this leak is much bigger that the earlier ones, it is expected that the agencies will be able to unearth a substantially higher amount of undisclosed income.

But the alacrity with which the government acted on the Pandora Papers is in direct contrast to the inaction on the Pegasus issue although it was also investigated by a similar consortium of investigative journalists worldwide and India was named as a country where the spyware was used to hack the phones of politicians and prominent citizens. In the case of Pandora Papers, the issue is revenue loss but in the case of Pegasus, it was national security as if the government was not using the spyware (as it claimed) it must be known who was using it and to what end. The government would do well to investigate that matter too with similar urgency.