Ex-Income Tax Chief Commissioner Among Top Revenue Officers in India on Pandora Papers List
A global partnership of journalists examined millions of leaked documents - dubbed the Pandora Papers - which have revealed that more than 300 Indians have links with offshore assets. They include cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, industrialist Anil Ambani and popular veteran actor Jackie Shroff, as well as a host of politicians and industrialists.
A day after the Indian government said that cases pertaining to the Pandora Papers will be investigated, it has emerged after an examination of the records that two former officers of the Indian Revenue Service have Swiss bank accounts with dubious assets.
Scrutiny of the Pandora Papers by The Indian Express has revealed that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of Switzerland initiated criminal proceedings against Homi Rajvansh, a former Indian Revenue Service officer of the 1985 batch.
He was arrested in 2011 for alleged corruption and money laundering in India by the top federal agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), while serving as additional managing-director of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).
The Enforcement Directorate alleged that he had INR29 million ($386,728). The Indian government put him under "compulsory retirement" - a customary punishment for official misconduct - in 2019.
The Pandora Papers investigation revealed that the OAG of Switzerland had in 2013 seized all records of the CBI investigation while introducing sanctions against two offshore companies, Horsham Technologies Ltd and Wairoa Industries Inc, set up by Rajvansh.
Records show that Rajvansh claimed to be an "independent commodity broker" while founding the companies, despite the fact he was in service at the time.
Swiss authorities initiated criminal proceedings seizing all evidence, including details of offshore companies. The records show that an alert had been sounded after Clariden Leu Trust, the bank where his accounts were held, released a Suspicious Transaction Report against him.
"The Clariden Leu Trust felt compelled to file the report after reading reports that Homi Rajvansh was involved in criminal proceedings in India and the bank could not exclude the possibility that the assets were of felonious origin," the criminal complaint filed by Switzerland's OAG read.
Former Top Revenue Officer in India Under Spotlight
Sushil Gupta, a former Income Tax Chief Commissioner, has cropped up in the investigations regarding the Pandora Papers for registering a company, Allied Trading Ltd, in January 2017, where he is shown as the "business owner" of Indian company, Hopewell Tradelink.
The opening form for both companies reveals that Gupta's assets have an estimated value of $500,000 and the "owner's funds" will be held in Switzerland. Gupta, as well as other members of his family, is a director in the company that deals in the wholesale trade of commodities.