Yet another financial leak has sent triggers around the globe. India ranks 19th among the 180 countries with as many as 714 Indians named in the Paradise Papers. This is quite more than the Panama Papers where 426 Indians were named – a substantial “increase”.

Paradise Papers: How, Where & When?

The German newspaper Süddeutshe Zeitung were the first to get hands on the confidential document. The newspaper then shared it with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. On the 5th of November 2017, ICIJ made the documents public.

The Paradise Papers has as many as 13.4 million electronic documents about offshore investments (legal or illegal?). The documents points to more than 1,20,000 people and companies. An offshore “legal” service provider, Appleby is said to be the “epicenter” of the leaks, along with corporate service providers Asiaciti Trust and few other.

It all started with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists alleging “legal” Appleby of illegality. Appleby denied the allegations. The firm said that their confidential data was stolen in a cyber attack the previous year, from where the leaks could have been originated. Appleby also maintained that they do not tolerate any kind of illegal investments. They advice clients with legitimate ways to conduct offshore business, the firm reportedly said.

Prominent Indian Names in the Papers:

Amongst the 714 names in the list of Indians holding offshore assets, the most notable name comes out to be Amitabh Bachchan. Lest we forget, the Bollywood thespian was named in the Panama Papers as well.

Politicians :

If only this would surprise anyone, politicians (and their kins) are known to multiply their privileges (wealth) better than anyone else. Some do it far better than others. Again, legally or illegally is certainly not the question here.

Sachin Pilot, Ashok Gehlot, Jayant Sinha and Ravindra Kishore Sinha, (to list a few) are among the politicians who have put their respective parties in a fix due to their names in the list – (including BJP)! However, everyone had their explanation.

Business:

Definitely, there’s no reason for the list to come clean of businesses and conglomerates. Both the Panama and Paradise Papers shows black money parks offshore. On the first anniversary of Demonetisation, the leak comes as the roadmap where black money should be actually scanned for.

To see the complete list of the names in the Offshore leaks, Panama Papers leak and the Paradise Papers leak, click HERE.

Panama Papers Progress Report

Nobody has ever taken more action than this government on foreign account details which have come!

This is what Arun Jaitely said in Rajya Sabha asserting that every account named in the Panama Papers is being probed. The government had ordered a multi agency scrutiny in the Panama Papers leak. A similar action is accounted for in the Paradise Papers.

Out of the 426 names in Panama Papers, 279 were found to be non-actionable, meaning that the offshore assets were legal. The remaining 147 cases are still under scanner. A whooping 792 crores (INR) of undisclosed income has been discovered so far. 5 of the 147 cases are facing criminal prosecution.

While the government is “unwilling” to disclose the names, the finance minister assured that the names would become public as soon as the cases land in the courtroom. He said that India has a rule of law and that actions would be taken only when the crime is proved. The finance minister was replying to the question if India was willing to do take any firm action like Pakistan where Nawaz Sharif, then the Prime Minister was removed from his office.

All of the Paradise Papers is not Black Money!

Government officials said that having offshore assets is not illegal unless it remains undisclosed. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists also noted that there can be legitimate reasons for offshore investments. Thus, not all the names in the list hold illegal assets.

Should people expect any action?

Sincerely, people SHOULD NOT forget that political parties amass huge donations from corporate houses. Devoid of the political parties, these donations remains unaccounted for, and are used in all kinds of political activities. In such case, should people expect any action? Let’s leave it to people’s conscience.

The Panama Papers investigations are running at a snail’s pace. This is just like any other black money, money laundering etc. cases investigations. By the time they reach the trail room, people will already forget Paradise papers and Panama papers as well like we already did. If we don’t, the government tries to distract the attention to other petty issues. This is very clearly evident nowadays. If this is not something that happens in every government, what is?

It’s high time people start questioning the government, leaving behind their political inclinations. Governments have been deceiving people’s votes now and then.

Taxpayers, wake up!

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