The CPI(M) today alleged revelations in the Paradise Papers underlined the "absurdity of the claim" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that demonetisation had neutralised black money. Former party general secretary Prakash Karat said the documents debunked the Centre's claim that it was fighting black money. "The expose ... has underlined the absurdity of the claim that demonetisation has neutralised black money," Karat said, referring to the Paradise Papers, made public last week.
At least 714 Indians are named in the leaked documents relating to offshore investment. In an editorial in the forthcoming issue of party organ 'People's Democracy', Karat quoted French economist Gabriel Zucman to stress that "600 billion Euros of MNC profit were shifted to offshore havens in the last year alone". Lashing out at big corporates who evaded taxes and deprived the countries of tax revenue used for health, education and social welfare, Karat said that while keeping money abroad was legally permissible, "(it) does not make it less ugly and exposes the double standards of neoliberal capitalism". "What is needed are strong measures to prevent the use of tax havens which are now allowed as legitimate business activity. Suitable laws and a regulatory framework have to be put in place to penalise offenders and plug all loopholes by which tax evasion is made possible," Karat said. He suggested the confiscation of assets of those found guilty, saying it would act as a deterrent. "To expect the government, however, to do all this would be naive," he said, accusing it of "being at the service of corporates and international capital".
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