Shillong: Income Tax officials on Thursday raided the residence and offices of three Meghalaya-based businessmen whose name figured in the recently-leaked Panama Papers, an official said.
Among those houses raided was the residence of Philip Pala, the brother of Shillong MP Vincent H Pala, the official said.
The Income Tax officials also raided the residence and office of Rohit Jain and the residence of Lesley Shylla.
The three are shareholders in two off shore companies – Azure Enterprises Global Inc and Eternal Enterprises Inc – based in British Virgin Island and have a Cyprus address.
“We have started our search and seizures in Meghalaya. We are verifying each and every detail of the people who were named in the Panama Papers… past income tax returns, PAN numbers, disclosures made in the black money window last year, remittances received under the liberalised remittances scheme are under surveillance,” the official said.
Apart from the trios, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) had also named Earce Clifford Kharsyntiew, Bokstar Kurkalang, Karishma Jain, Karan Jain, Reshmi Rohit Jain, and Kenneth Fletcher Rangad in the Panama Papers as shareholders of off shore entities in notorious tax havens managed by financial management company Mossack Fonseca.
However, four businessmen – Kharsyntiew, Shylla, Kurkalang, and Pala – through their counsel S.P.Sharma, maintained that their “offshore investments were legal”.
“They have every right to invest money any where they wish either in Meghalaya/other state or abroad as per prevalent law of the country and accordingly they had invested in shares of the offshore companies,” Sharma said.
Sharma said that all payments were made strictly through the Indian banking channels with due permission of the RBI, and with its full knowledge and information about the investment.