Panama Papers: Congress says government ignored leaks, demands SIT

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday accused the government of ignoring the ICIJ probe 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.

Raman Singh’s son Abhishek Singh is a Lok Sabha member from Rajanandgaon in Chhattisgarh.

“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,” senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told the media here.

He said that an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) leaks of offshore investments about two years back revealed Abhishek Singh’s name. The list mentioned his name as ‘Abhishak Singh’. A company — Quest Heights Ltd. — was said to be registered in the name of Abhishak Singh.

“The government has ignored ICIJ investigations for a year, which alleges serious fraud, holding of off-shore assets and money laundering in off-shore accounts through fictitious companies by Abhishek Singh, a BJP MP and son of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh.”

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.”

“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,” Ramesh said.

“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.

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