AAP demands SC-monitored probe into Panama Papers

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) The AAP on Monday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe against companies and people named in the Panama Papers.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Raghav Chadha said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has availed of the hospitality of industrialist Gautam Adani, whose brother’s company is named in the Panama Papers investigation. Therefore, we don’t trust the government for a fair probe into the matter.”

“Therefore, a Supreme Court-monitored probe should be ordered in the Panama Papers investigations at the earliest,” he said.

An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and more than 100 other news organisations across the globe reveals offshore links of some of the world’s prominent people, including over 500 from India.

In India, The Indian Express published the investigative report, alleging that, among others, Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai were directors in companies in Panama. The two did not immediately respond despite efforts to contact them. Rai’s media adviser told the newspaper that the information was false.

Also named in the probe were Sameer Gehlaut of India Bulls for allegedly owning properties in the Bahamas, Jersey and Britain and K.P. Singh of realty firm DLF for having companies registered in British Virgin Islands.

Vinod Adani, elder brother of industrialist Gautam Adani, politician Shishir Bajoria from West Bengal and Anurag Kejriwal of the Loksatta Party were also accused of setting up companies in tax havens.

Meanwhile, the AAP leader said the Centre was planning to bring about “retrospective” amendments to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act so that political parties can receive foreign fundings.

“The Delhi High Court ruled in 2014 that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress received foreign funding. Therefore, the central government wants to bring in retrospective amendments in the Act so that they could not be charged with violation of the law in the past and continue to receive foreign fundings,” Chadha said.

“If the government brings in the amendments, foreign companies will open their branches in India and fund different political parties. Hence, they will dictate policies to the government (of the day) for their own benefit,” the AAP leader added.

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