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Govt orders multi-agency probe into Pandora Papers revelation

Govt orders multi-agency probe into Pandora Papers revelation

New Delhi: Indians whose offshore investments came to light through the Pandora Papers will face a multi-agency probe with the Indian government directing the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Enforcement Directorate, Reserve Bank of India, and Financial Intelligence Unit to look into the matter.

Pandora Papers is the latest leak by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in which The Indian Express is a member, of people who stashed billions abroad with dubious intention to dodge the government taxing in the country.

The leak of names of elites who were involved in offshore money fudging on media prompted the Union government to order an investigation into the Pandora Papers.

"The Government has directed today that, investigations in cases of Pandora Papers leaks appearing in the media under the name 'Pandora Papers' will be monitored through the Multi-Agency Group, headed by the Chairman, CBDT," said a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

Apart from conducting an investigation by the relevant agencies, the government has also announced that it will engage with foreign jurisdictions to gauge the veracity of the dealings and to take appropriate actions against the people who are involved in the dealings.

"With a view to ensure effective investigation in these cases, the Government will also proactively engage with foreign jurisdictions for obtaining information in respect of relevant taxpayers/entities. The Government of India is also part of an Inter-Governmental Group that ensures collaboration and experience sharing to effectively address tax risks associated with such leaks," the state further said.

While this is the eighth leak reported by this newspaper with ICIJ, the government said that following earlier leaks such as HSBC, Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, the Government already enacted the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 with an aim to curb black money, or undisclosed foreign assets and income by imposing suitable tax and penalty on such income.

The Pandora Papers is reportedly the latest after a series of other revelations by The Indian Express in collaboration with the ICIJ prompting the Indian Government to bring the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 into the law.

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