A multi-agency investigative panel led by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will monitor investigations into the Pandora Papers’ list of entities and individuals, said an official statement from the Centre.

“The government has directed today that, investigations in cases of Pandora Papers leaks appearing in the media under the name ‘Pandora Papers’ will be monitored through the Multi Agency Group, headed by the Chairman, CBDT, having representatives from the CBDT, Enforcement Directorate, the Reserve Bank of India and Financial Intelligence Unit,” said a CBDT release.

On October 3, the International Consortium of International Journalists (ICIJ) exposed the offshore secrets of wealthy elite from over 200 countries and territories. The investigation is based on confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that provide professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to launder unaccounted money to tax havens via shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities.

ICIJ has not yet released the names of individuals or entities and has suggested that information will be released in phases in days to come. It is believed that names of about 300 Indians are mentioned in the list. Some names alleged to be in the list are Anil Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, and Purvi Modi –sister of beleaguered diamantaire Nirav Modi – among others.

“The government has taken note of these developments. The relevant investigative agencies would undertake investigation in these cases and appropriate action would be taken in such cases as per law. With a view to ensure effective investigation in these cases, the government will also proactively engage with foreign jurisdictions for obtaining information in respect of relevant taxpayers/entities,” the CBDT release said.

It may be noted that investigations into earlier leaks like Panama Papers (2016) and Paradise Papers (2017) led to unearthing undisclosed credits to the tune of ₹20,352 crore.

UNDP, OECD partner India for tax programmes.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), launched its programme in Seychelles today. India has been chosen as the Partner Administration and has provided Tax Expert for this programme.

During the 12-month programme, India, in collaboration with the TIWB secretariat and support of the UNDP in Mauritius and Seychelles, aims to aid Seychelles strengthen its tax administration by transferring technical know-how and skills to its tax auditors through sharing best audit practices. The focus of the programme will be on transfer pricing cases of tourism and financial services sectors.

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