Reiterating the government’s commitment to detect and prevent generation of black money, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday announced setting up of a special multi-agency group that would track information after the Panama Papers that leaked names of 500 people who have stashed funds in offshore accounts.

Information flow

“As per the directions of the Prime Minister given today, a special multi-agency group is being constituted today consisting of officers from Investigative Unit of Central Board of Direct Taxes, Financial Intelligence Unit, Foreign Tax and Tax Research division and representative of Reserve Bank of India,” he said, adding the group will monitor the flow of information in each one of the cases.

Sources said the Special Investigation Team on black money will also look into the list of names and bank accounts.

According to media reports based on leaked documents of a Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, over 500 Indians have been linked to offshore firms. The reports claimed that the list included foundations and trusts and passport details of 234 Indians.

“The government will take all necessary actions to get maximum information from all sources including from foreign governments to help in the investigation process and bringing back black money stashed abroad,” the Minister stressed, adding that the government is committed to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting initiative to check tax avoidance.

More names likely

Welcoming the information, Jaitley said more names are likely to come out.

“Based on the investigative journalism of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2013 in which the links of 700 Indian persons were shown to have business connection with off-shore entities, the Revenue Department identified 434 persons out of them as Indian residents,” he said.

Of these, 184 admitted their relationship with the offshore transactions and over ₹2,000 crore was detected from these accounts. Fifty-two prosecutions complaints were also filed.

Similarly, in response to information received in 2011 from Government of France, relating to the bank accounts of 628 Indian persons in HSBC, Switzerland, a concealment penalty of ₹1,213 crore was levied in 157 cases, he said.

Prosecution complaints against 154 have already been filed. Earlier, in the day, the Finance Minister had also warned those who did not disclose their unaccounted income abroad in the special compliance window last year and said “such tax adventurism will prove costly”.

“With G20 initiatives, FATCA and bilateral transactions in place with effect from 2017, the world is going to be a far more transparent institution and therefore, this kind of adventurism will prove to be extremely costly for those who have indulged in it,” he said at the CII annual meet.

According to Finance Ministry data, just 644 declarations were made under the black money window involving ₹4,164 crore. Of this, ₹2,428.4 crore was received as tax and penalty by December 31.

Cong demand

The Congress Party demanded a time-bound enquiry into the revelations.

The Party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party rejects the constitution of a multi-departmental committee set up by the Finance Minister and termed it as a shoddy attempt to brush aside the revelations.

DLF reacts

Meanwhile, DLF in a statement said that it has followed all applicable rules and regulations of the Government, RBI, FEMA and Income Tax to the last detail.