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Panama papers: I-T Dept to investigate accused under anti-black money act

These are the first set of cases of undisclosed foreign assets which are being probed under the new anti-black money Act, that has criminal sections for prosecution under the law

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

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Stepping up probe into the Panama Papers, the has slapped criminal charges under the new Act and launched fresh assessment of stashed offshore income against over half-a- dozen Indian entities in the list, official sources said.

They said the department has detected undisclosed assets and stashed funds located in foreign countries in case of seven individuals and entities named in the leaks and the taxman has begun investigations against them under the (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

Sources privy to the probe said the tax department has ordered fresh assessment and also re-assessment of the income of these entities and will soon launch criminal prosecution against all of them as the entities had allegedly not disclosed offshore properties to Indian tax and banking authorities in the past.

These are the first set of cases of undisclosed foreign assets which are being probed under the new anti-Act, that has criminal sections for prosecution under the law.

Under the new anti-law cases of overseas illegal assets, which till recently were probed under the regular and civil Income Tax Act of 1961, attract a steep 120 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.

Prosecution of these seven entities under the (PMLA) would also be initiated in the coming days, as the Act of 2015 qualifies to be a predicate offence for money laundering investigations, they said.

The sources refused to divulge the identities of the seven entities citing the overriding global tax information exchange secrecy clauses between various countries.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has recently said that investigations in the leak cases till now have resulted in the I-T Department detecting undisclosed wealth of Rs 792 crore so far and the probe in these cases is on in "full swing".

Over a year after the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made the documents public, the CBDT said it has found 147 of the total 426 cases "actionable".

The department also conducted searches in 35 cases and surveys in 11, the CBDT had said.

"The conducted enquiries in all 426 cases, inter alia, through making 395 references to 28 foreign jurisdictions.

"Based on analysis of the information obtained and investigation conducted, the outcome so far indicates 147 actionable cases and 279 non-actionable cases (non-residents/ or no irregularities)," it said in the first week of this month.

The CBDT said the contained brief particulars of about 426 persons, prima facie, Indians or persons of Indian origin.

The government had constituted a multi-agency group (MAG) of investigative agencies in April last year to probe these instances.

The MAG has so far submitted seven reports to the government.

The CBDT had said the taxman's investigation in these cases is "in progress".

First Published: Sun, November 19 2017. 14:23 IST