Free Press Journal

Panama papers case: Supreme Court lists PIL for final hearing on Mar 7


New Delhi: The Supreme Court today listed for final hearing on March 7 a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the Panama papers leaks relating to over 500 accounts in offshore banks.

This direction was given by a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi.

Also Read: Action on Panama paper names depends on probe’s outcome- Arun Jaitley

The bench had on January 10 given an indication that it may consider appointing a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the leaks.

The Centre had earlier told the court about a multi- -agency group (MAG) it had constituted to inquire into the materials contained in the leaked papers.

It had on October 3 last year informed the court that a whopping Rs 8,186 crore, illegally kept in offshore banks by Indians, has been brought under the tax ambit despite constraints like non-sharing of information by Swiss authorities.

The Department of Economic Affairs of the Finance Ministry, in an affidavit, had said, “An undisclosed income of Rs 8,186 crore (including protective assessment of Rs 1,485 crore) has been brought to tax, on account of deposits made in unreported foreign bank accounts.”

It had said that the Centre is “bent upon to find out the truth and take appropriate action” in the Panama papers leak case and hence the plea be dismissed.

The central government had said that the relief sought in the writ petition has already been dealt with, pointing out that the group comprises officers of CBDT, RBI, ED and FIU and the member (investigation) CBDT has been nominated as its convener.

The PIL had sought a court-monitored CBI probe into the Panama papers leaks which contained an unprecedented amount of information, including more than 11 million documents covering 2,10,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions.

Each transaction spanned different jurisdictions and may involve multiple entities and individuals, it had said.

Also Read: PM orders probe into 500 offshore Panama accounts

The plea had also suggested that a direction be given to CBI to lodge FIR and conduct investigation against the SEBI chairman, his associates and share brokers for alleged offences, including under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The petition had alleged that Panama papers included the names of nearly 500 Indians, including celebrities and industrialists, who have allegedly parked funds in offshore accounts in transactions brokered by the law firm.