NEW DELHI: In nearly 1.15 crore documents leaked from the files of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, nearly 500 Indians including two politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists, and Bollywood celebrities have been named.
The list includes the promoters of Apollo Tyres and Indiabulls, and many others. Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan have been named on the list too.
The information about the Indians on the list was first made public by The Indian Express which partnered with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to carry out a probe of the documents leaked for the last eight months.
Now, the Indian Express has put out a list of 11 Indians and their family members along with the details of their offshore investments and business entities as revealed by the leaked documents.
— Ashok Garware, the executive chairman of Global Offshore Services along with his wife, Sushma, and son, Aditya, hold Power of Attorneys (PoA) in several companies based in Panama.
— Sushma and Aditya hold PoAs in at least six companies in Panama – Avior SA, VRA Team Corp SA, U R Great S A, Wellman SA, Yukon Portfolio SA and Python Corp, the report says.
While all these companies were floated in 2008 with Aditya and Sushma holding the PoAs for three years, they have been inactive since 2009. Aditya signed off the dissolution on July 22, 2014, the Indian Express report says.
— Ashok Garware’s Global Offshore Services was earlier called Garware Offshore Services. His son Aditya is the managing director of the company. Other companies under the banner include Garware Goa Nets, Garware Marine Industries and Garware Offshore International Services Pte.
— Ashok Garware is also a shareholder in Rondor Overseas Ltd. The company was registered in the British Virgin islands on May 10, 1996. Garware holds 1,000 shares of 1,000 each with a capital of $10,000.
— Orel Corporation SA also based in Panama also issued PoAs to Ashok and Maneesha Shah in January 2011 and November 2010, respectively, but they were revoked in July 2012, the report said.
— A Fujiyama Team Foundation was set up by the Garware family with initial assets of $10,000 with the three family members as the principal beneficiaries.
— The public deed for the foundation was signed on October 26, 2010, the Indian Express report said. It was registered on November 1, 2010 and struck off on January 15, 2013.
Reponse: Global Offshore Services’ company secretary and president Legal & Admin A C Chandarana said that the Garware family said that the aforementioned entitied were owned by foreign friends considering investments in India. Accordingly, the PoAs were granted for the reason. The company’s legal counsel said that since the intentions for which the companies were set up, were not executive, the PoAs lapsed and the entities were dissolved, the Indian Express report said.
The report also quoted the counsel as saying that the family members and Maneesha Shah, although PoA holders in several Panamanian entities, were not beneficial owners and hence, were advised that they weren’t required to report the PoAs to any authorities. He reiterated that the family members were not connected to any of the companies, the report said.
Shishir K Bajoria
Persons named: Shishir K Bajoria,
— Shishir K Bajoria, promoter of SK Bajoria Group, and one of BJP’s key campaigners in the upcoming West Bengal elections, has been named the beneficial owner of Haptic (BVI) Limited which was set up “to receive assets from sister company and settle new trust,” the report said.
— The leaked documents contain a copy of Bajoria’s passport for identity proof. The registered address has been listed as Alipore in Kolkata.
— The company was set up in British virgin Islands on October 26, 2015 by Mossack Fonseca along with First Names Group (Isle Of Man), the report said.
— The Mossack Fonseca documents said that Haptic (BVI) Ltd’s activities were listed to be carried out in the Isle of Man, UK.
— The company had assets worth over $1 million.
— On December 2, 2015, First Names Group moved to liquidate the company.
Response: The report quoted Bajoria saying that he’d never owned Haptic BVI Ltd and that the connection was an error. He, however said that he was a client of Firts Names Group, Isle of Man. A First Names Group representative, C G Hepburn has been quoted in the report, admitting that the error was made in a form sent to the Panamanian law firm and took full responsibility of the error.
Persons named: Onkar Kanwar, wife Taru Kanwar, Neeraj Kanwar, Simran Kanwar
— J&S Systems Corporation and two trusts were floated by the chairman of Apollo Group, Onkar Kanwar and his family members in 2010 and 2014, respectively.
— The leaked documents have revealed that J&S holds one million shares of 0.01 pence each in Mercom Oil Sands plc, an apartment in London’s ‘The Tower’, bank accounts in Barclays Bank, Singapore, and the Cayman National Bank and Trust Company Ltd in Isle of Man, the report said.
— According to the report the account in the Cayman National Bank held GBP 3,65,478.26 as of November 30, 2014.
— Onkar, Neeraj Kanwar and Simran Kanwar are the first shareholders since October 6, 2010. Onkar’s wife also holds shares in the company. The company’s source of funds was listed as the proceeds from business trade, the report said.
— The adress of all the members in the leaked documents was registered as Shanti Niketan.
— According to J&S shareholding all the aforementioned family members held shares in the company. The files reveal that Onkar was a registered shareholder in the company till March14, 2014, the report says.
— T&O Trust was floated by Onkar and his wife on January 20, 2014, along with Harneys Trusteed Ltd. The report says that the final beneficiaries of the settlement were Jai Karan and Syra.
Neeraj and Simran floated a settlement S&N Trust with Harneys, on the same day, again listing their children as the final beneficiaries.
Upon termination of the agreements, both Jai and Syra would stand to receive the Trust Fund of 100 shares equally.
Response: Foreign investments and disclosures made by the Kanwar family are in due compliance with the Indian laws, an Apollo Tyres spokesperson said. The spokesperson also said that most of the family mentioned are Non-Residents of India and hence, the Indian laws and restrictions in Income Tax and RBI were not applicable to them.
Persons named: Harish Salve, family
— Erstwhile Solicitor General of India Harish Salve and his family registered three companies in the British Virgin Islands, the Indian Express report says.
— Crestbright Ltd, Pyebush Group Ltd and Edenoval Ltd were set up through London-based agent Rawi & Co. Vasant Vihar in New Delhi has been listed as the India address.
— Crestbright Ltd: Registered in 2012, Salve is named as director, with Salendra Swarup as the other director.
— The leaked documents include a recommendation letter from Salve to Rawi & Co in 2007, asking them to set up a company and a trust for Ramesh Mahajan and Asha Mahajan.
— The other two companies, set up in 2008, list Salve’s wife Meenakshi Harish Salve and daughter Sakshi as directors.
— Edenoval Ltd: The entity is listed as a shareholder in the incorporation documents of Pyebush Group Ltd. Salve said that Edenoval was set up with a friend, while Pyebush was set up by him to hold shares in the former company. He made the investment moves on his friend’s suggestions, he said.
Response: Salve said that Crestbright has zero assets and income. It was only set up as a holding company to hold his “lawfully made and fully disclosed investments in the UK,” the report says.
Salve said that he’s been remitting funds since 2003 under LRS. A portion of this was invested in a UK portfolio and a US patent. He added that since e wasn’t a UK tax resident and wanted to avoid becoming one, he looked to part it in a BVI company.
Salve said that no assets were moved into Crestbright. He said all three companies are “virtually defunct,” the report says.
He said that all his investments have been filed and nothing has been withheld.
Jehangir Soli Sorabjee
Former attorney general Soli Sorabjee’s son is the sole shareholder in Moonglow Investments Global Ltd, an entity in British Virgin Islands.
The company was incororated on November 24, 2010, and Sorabjee consented to act as director on the same day. .
Response: Sorabjee said that he’d complied with all disclosure norms. He added that all the money sent from India to overseas was through the liberalised RBI scheme, declared in his IT returns.
Mohan Lal Lohia
Chairman Emeritus of Indo Rama Synthetics and Chairman of Indo Rama Holdings Ltd has been named as “first director” of Venton Group Ltd, an entity in British Virgin Islands.
— The company was registered in 2007, with “broad” objectives. The registered India address is Greater Kailash in New Delhi. The leaked documents show that the law firm was asked to let the company “die a natural death” in November 2012, the report says.
— Lohia Charitable Foundation, an NGO, was set up in Panama in January 2010 with a corpus of $10,000, the report says. Lohia, grandson Amit Lohia and daughter-in-law Seema Lohia were listed as the foundation’s family council.
Response: A response from the company said that all three — Mohan Lal Lohia, Seema Lohia and Amit Lohia – were non-residents and are settled abroad, the report says.
The spokesperson said that he wasn’t aware about the companies mentioned in the email by Indian Express, but said that investments in foreign assets didn’t require NRIs to notify the Income Tax Department and RBI.
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla’s brother, Zavaray’s wife Behroze and daughters Simone and Delna, were listed on the leaked documents as as directors of Stallast Ltd. The entity was set up in 2013 in the British Virgin Islands and was struck off in 2014.
Response: Zavaray has been quoted by the Indian Express admitting that they were the directors of the company. He said that the family remitted the money under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme through the automatic route. Hence, no special permission from RBI was necessary.
He also said that all the details of the remittances were disclosed to the Indian tax authorities. Stating that the aforementioned investments were all official, it didn’t need a declaration under the amnesty scheme.
Rajendra Patil, son-in-law of Karnataka Horticulture Minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa, set up an offshore firm called Elgenburt Ltd in British Virgin Islands in 2007 along with two associates – Sanjay Nadgouda and Shashank Angadi
— The entity was set up with an initial shareholding of 50,000 shares. Patil held 22,500 shares.
— A commercial complex owned by the Shivashankarappa family in Bengaluru has been listed as Patil’s address in India.
Response: Patil said that the company was set up in 2007 as a buyer to issue letters of credi tin Europe. He said that they were trading in agricultural commodities but suffered a loss of Rs 1 crore in a deal so the entity was shut down in the same year, the IE report says.
Anil Vasudeva Salgaocar
The former Goa-based MLA and mining tycoon used the Panama law firm’s help to set up 11 offshore companies mostly in British Virgin Islands.
— Set up between 2004-05, the registered address is Vasco Da Gama in sourt Goa.
— According to the report, the companies set up by Salgaocar includes Jamana Finance Limited, Ling Tao Trading Ltd, GBA Shipping Ltd, Horizon Villa Investments Ltd, GBA Minerals Limited, Nickon Enterprises Ltd, General Harvest International Ltd and Crown Bright Trading Ltd, among others. Salgaocar’s son Arjun Anil as the director of some companies.
— In 2007, the documents say, Salgaocar won the assembly polls from Sanvordem. He had not disclosed details of the offshore companies to the Election Commission.
— Salgaocar passed away in Singapore in January this year. A family member declined comment as he wasn’t aware of the investments.
Indira Sivasailam and Mallika Srinivasan
— Indira Sivasailam, wife of the chairman of Amalgamations Group, Anantharamakrishnan Sivasailam, passed away in December 2008, the report said. Her daughters — Mallika Srinivasan is the chairman and CEO of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE) and the late Jayshree Venkatraman, director of TAFE (Power Source Division).
According to the leaked documents, Indira has been listed as a shareholder in Stanbridge Company Ltd. The company was incorporated in 1999 in British Virgin Islands.
— Indira’s shares along with her husband’s shares were transferred to the two daughters. According to the documents, Mallika later relinquished her shares to a Ved Prakash Ahuja for “personal reasons,” the report says.
— The shares of Auto Engineering Development and Research Limited, a British Virgin Islands entity were also transferred to Stanbridge. According to the records, the company was struck off in September 2015.
Response: While responding to the revelations made in the leaked documents, Mallika Srinivasan said that she hadn’t set up Stanbridge and had no connection with it. She added that the company belonged to V P Ahuja, an NRI, who confirmed that the company was set up for “his sole benefit” by him. He also said that the shares were held by him entirely, the Indian Express report says.
Abdul Rashid Mir & Tabasum
Cottage Industries Exposition (CIE) founder and CEO Abdul Rashid Mir, floated Mondale SA with a authorised capital of $10,000, divided into 100 shares. the company was floated on September 4, 2002. He held the Power of Attorney from December 2, 2002, to open a bank account with Banque Baring Brothers (Suisse) SA, the report says.
— Ten days later the company issued bearer shares and Mir’s son Mujeeb subscribed “as shareholder to the entire authorised share capital of the company” on October 8, the report said.
— The Indian Express reported that Mujeeb’s parents were appointed additional directors in Mondale SA, after he was murdered in Mauritius.
On July 5, 2007, Mir held a meeting with a Mr Woernle of Banque Baring Brothers Sturdza SA, to cancel the discretionay management power granted to the bank over the company’s account with the Bank, the report said.
Mondale SA then replaced Secretan Troyanov, a Geneva-based law firm with Swiss LLC, as its administrator.
Response: Tabasum Mir said that neither him, nor Abdul Rashid Mir had ever held a stake or any control in the company. He said that the company was incorporated and run by a trust founded by the late Mujib Mir, an NRI, the Indian Express report says. After Mir’s death, the Trust was dissolved and the proceeds distributed amongst his family members who have all disclosed the benefits to the government.