5 document leaks which shook rich and powerful in India
New Delhi : Queen Elizabeth, Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, Indian leaders and many others woke up on Monday in a world of controversies mucking their directly or through association in biggest yet tax haven scandal - Paradise Papers.
The latest set of revelations has once agaìn shook the universe of rich and powerful and has laid open their secrets of wealth accumulation and tax avoidance out in the public.
Documents leaks in the recent past have done more for transparency then promised by elected leaders across the globe.
Here is a look at recent disclosures that have shaken governments, citizens and people in power.
Paradise Papers leak
Largest data-leak till date, Paradise Papers includes 13.4 million files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive - and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.
The material comes from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens. According to Indian Express, which partnered with 100 other media organisations through ICIJ to study the documents, reported that there were at least 740 Indians named in the papers, including Union Minister Jayant Sinha, YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt's wife and many others.
Panama Papers leak
The leak, which led to the downfall of several global leaders including our neighbouring Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, made up of roughly 11 million documents.
The records, published in 2016, revealed the names of individuals who paid the firm to set up offshore entities in tax havens around the world. More than 500 Indians featured on the list, including Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan, DLF CEO KP Singh, and Indiabulls chairman Samir Gehlaut among others.
Swiss bank details leaks
Indian political parties have repeatedly failed to get the names of Indians who maintain Swiss bank accounts, but an investigation by yet again ICIJ managed to throw light on names of 1,195 Indian clients of HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm.
The investigating team also revealed nearly double the names for the government by French authorities in 2011 that led to an investigation directed by the Supreme Court.
After the leaks, money parked by Indians in Switzerland’s banks nearly halved to 676 million Swiss francs (about Rs 4,500 crore) in 2016 to hit a record low amid a continuing clampdown on the suspected black money stashed behind their famed secrecy walls.
More than 100 taped conversations between Niira Radia - a corporate lobbyist for Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata - and journalists and politicians were published by Open and Outlook magazines in 2010. The transcripts were allegedly part of taped conversations by the Income Tax department and the government recorded between May and July 2009 as surveillance.
In 2014, former telecom minister A Raja - an accused in the 2G spectrum scam - denied having a telephonic talk with Radia, although reports said a transcript included their conversation. Prominent journalists Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi featured in the tapes as well.
Indian Navy submarine data leak
Documents detailing the secret combat capabilities of Scorpene-class submarines that French shipbuilder DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy were leaked, The Australian reported last year. The paper, which exposed the leak, had uploaded documents from a cache of 22,400 classified papers of DCNS, which was helping India build six Scorpene submarines under a Rs 23,562-crore ($3.5 billion) deal.
The French government had claimed the documents were stolen, and not leaked, while The Australian said the data was “removed from DCNS by a former sub-contractor in 2011 and taken to a private company in Southeast Asia before being passed to a branch of that company in a second Southeast Asian nation”.