Son Arjun Anil also listed as director in some companies; Anil had not disclosed offshore companies to Election Commission when he contested and won Assembly polls from Sanvordem
PANJIM: The name of Goa-based mining baron and former MLA, the late Anil Vasudeva Salgaocar, figures in the Panama papers.
A massive leak of millions of documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca has revealed that 500 Indians, including prominent Bollywood actors, politicians and industrialists, had offshore holdings in tax havens across the world.
The list includes the names of actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, as well as her family members, and her father-in-law, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
According to agency reports, Anil Salgaocar had set up 11 offshore companies with the help of MF, mostly in the BVI, with a majority of them being incorporated between 2004-2005 with Vasco Da Gama in South Goa as the India address. Salgaocar, 75, died in Singapore in January this year.
The offshore entities include Ling Tao Trading Ltd, Horizon Villa Investments Ltd, GBA Shipping Ltd, Jamana Finance Limited, GBA Minerals Limited, Nickon Enterprises Ltd, General Harvest International Ltd and Crown Bright Trading Ltd, among others, with records showing that a majority were set up between 2004 and 2005. Records show that many of the 11 companies were struck off MF’s lists in 2007 and 2008.
Anil Salgaocar’s son Arjun Anil is also listed as director in some companies. In 2007, Anil Salgaocar did not disclose these offshore companies to the Election Commission when he contested and won the Assembly elections from Sanvordem.
A member of Salgaocar’s family, who did not wish to be identified, said, “I am in no position to comment on this since we are not aware of these business interests. Nothing is known to us about these companies.”
Meanwhile, businessmen such as DLF owner KP Singh and his family members, Indiabulls chairman Sameer Gehlaut, Apollo Tyres chairman Onkar Kanwar and Vinod Adani of the Adani group also figure on the list. It also includes Mumbai gang-lord Iqbal Mirchi and lawyer Harish Salve.
According to investigations, Bachchan was the director of four shipping firms in BVL and the Bahamas in 1993, which traded in millions of dollars. Rai, along with her brother, father and mother, were the directors of a firm in the British Virgin Islands in 2005, with the company being dissolved in 2008.
According to the Reserve Bank of India’s rules, Indian citizens were not allowed to float overseas entities before 2003-04. In 2004, individuals were allowed to buy shares and remit funds up to $25,000 annually under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme, but barred from setting up companies abroad. This rule was changed only in 2013, when RBI permitted individuals to invest in joint ventures or subsidiaries under the Overseas Direct Investment window. The annual limit was also increased to $250,000.
The list of Indians was published by a national newspaper on Monday, which is part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism. The report stated that these companies were mostly set up before the rules were changed.
Black money is a major election issue in India. After the news broke, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked for an investigation. The government will form a multi-agency group to monitor the disclosures. “All unlawful financial holdings abroad will face action,” Jaitley said.
The Supreme Court had already appointed a Special Investigation Team to look into black money. The team has asked government agencies to verify the leak and prepare a report on the allegations.