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Pandora Papers: Experts call for a systematic plan

Mumbai | Updated on October 04, 2021

The latest leaks contain names of about 380 Indians including former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, businessman Anil Ambani, fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi among others

India should adopt a systematic plan on cracking down on illegal overseas bank accounts, experts said after the so-called Pandora Papers revealed over 350 Indian names with wealth stashed abroad.

While the government has initiated a probe, legal experts said that a formal system needs to be put in place.

Narendra Dingankar, Partner, Pioneer Legal, said there is no doubt a deeper probe is needed whenever such leaks occur, especially in cases where the holding of such bank accounts is not warranted by a politician. It is very difficult in cases of a businessman having cross-border deals since there may be a legitimate reason for having such an account. The reasons why nothing happens could be many including a deliberate attempt to stall such investigations by using influence, he added.

The dump of more than 11.9 million records, amounting to about 2.94 terabytes of data, came five years after the earlier leak known as the "Panama Papers" exposed how money was hidden by the wealthy in ways that law enforcement agencies could not detect. The latest leaks contain names of about 380 Indians including former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, businessman Anil Ambani, fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi among others.

Mathew Chacko, Partner, Spice Route Legal, said it is time India adopted a systematic plan on cracking down on illegitimate bank accounts. Having a foreign bank account is not a crime as long as one can show the source of income and comply with FEMA. It is high time we set up a system to identify these bank accounts and verify which among them is illegal and penalise the illegal ones, he said.

Published on October 04, 2021

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