The Pandora Papers, a massive leak of over 11 million files exposing offshore entities used by the ultra-rich to manage their finances globally, has sparked investigations by India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED). The agency is scrutinizing 380 individuals of Indian nationality, with notable names such as Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani, and Niira Radia under the investigative lens.
Understanding the Pandora Papers
The Pandora Papers comprise leaked documents from 14 global corporate services firms, revealing details about 29,000 off-the-shelf companies and private trusts. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) acquired the data in 2021, sharing it with 150 media partners worldwide.
Prominent Individuals Under ED’s Probe
- Anil Ambani’s Offshore Ventures: The Pandora Files exposed Anil Ambani’s ownership of 18 offshore companies, with the ED seeking details on these entities. Summons were issued to Anil and Tina Ambani under FEMA provisions, and their statements were recorded in Mumbai.
- Sachin Tendulkar’s BVI Connection: The cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, identified as a Beneficial Owner of a BVI company, Saas International Limited, is now under scrutiny. The ED, invoking FEMA, has requested Income Tax details, with an Egmont request sent to the BVI Financial Intelligence Unit.
- Harish Salve’s BVI Property Ownership: Former Solicitor General Harish Salve’s acquisition of The Marsul Company in the BVI is under investigation. The ED has made Egmont requests to FIU-BVI and is seeking IT authorities’ details on his returns for Marsul.
- DHFL Promoters’ Offshore Entities: Former DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, already facing a loan bank scam, have incorporated offshore entities revealed by the Pandora Papers. The ED’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act probe involves Egmont requests to various countries.
- Singh Brothers’ BVI Firms: Former Ranbaxy promoters Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh set up offshore firms in the BVI in 2009. ED investigations have led to the freezing of Malvinder Singh’s Singapore bank account. Shivinder Singh’s alleged property transfer is also under scrutiny.
- Niira Radia’s Offshore Transactions: Niira Radia, linked to a dozen offshore entities, faces fresh ED inquiries. The seized data is under analysis, and Radia’s sister, Karuna Menon, has also recorded a statement.
As the Pandora Papers continue to unravel financial intricacies, the ED’s relentless investigations into the offshore dealings of prominent Indian figures underscore the global impact of this massive leak. Stay tuned for updates on these high-profile cases that have brought the hidden world of offshore finances into the spotlight.