New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday accused the government of ignoring International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) leaks of offshore investments in the past and demanded Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s resignation over his son’s alleged ownership of assets in the British Virgin Islands.
The opposition party also demanded a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team probe against all those whose names have cropped up in the ‘Panama Papers’ case till date.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that an ICIJ leak about two years back revealed Raman Singh’s son Abhishek Singh name. The list spelled his name as ‘Abhishak Singh’, with an ‘a’. A company — Quest Heights Ltd. — was said to be registered in the name of ‘Abhishak Singh’.
Abhishek Singh is a Lok Sabha member from Rajanandgaon in Chhattisgarh.
The Congress also shared a link which showed that ‘Abhishak Singh’ was one of the shareholders of Quest Heights Ltd. The connection between Abhishek Singh and ‘Abhishak Singh’ was brought out by the address provided: c/o Raman Medical Store New Bus Stand Vindhyavasini Ward, Ward no. 20, Kawardha. Kawardha.
It is similar to the address that shows up on the website of the Chhattisgarh assembly, as one of the two addresses of Raman Singh: ‘Raman Medical Stores, Main Road Kawardha, Dist-Kawardha’.
“This proves the connection. The government has ignored ICIJ investigations for a year, which alleges serious fraud, holding of offshore assets and money laundering in offshore accounts through fictitious companies by Abhishek Singh, a BJP MP and son of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh,” said Ramesh.
Ramesh demanded that Raman Singh should resign and a probe initiated against his son. “We demand that the role of Raman Singh and Abhishek Singh be probed in a timely manner without any favour.”
Citing the example of Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who stepped down in the wake of the leaked Panama Papers, Ramesh said that Raman Singh should also resign on similar grounds.
“When this issue was raised by the Congress leadership in Chhattisgarh the only answer Abhishek Singh had was that he has no foreign bank accounts. He chose to be vague by not mentioning any investments in form of shareholdings in a company,” said Ramesh.
“We demand a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe against all those whose names have cropped up in ‘Panama Papers’ leaks — now and in the past. The government has set up a multi-group agency to investigate the matter further,” he added.
“While the structure, domain, reach and authority of this agency is unclear, the announcement is disappointing and inadequate. For an independent probe, a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe is necessary,” Ramesh said.
“The Indian list of tax evaders who have invested their ill-gotten wealth in Panama are known friends, well-wishers and ambassadors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.