SC seeks report on probe into Panama Papers

SC seeks report on probe into Panama Papers

The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to examine the progress made by the Multi-Agency Group (MAG), directing it to furnish six reports prepared so far in its investigation into the Panama Papers, purportedly containing names of Indian offshore account holders.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra sought to ascertain the status of the probe in the wake of a specific plea made in a PIL filed by advocate-petitioner M L Sharma for a court-monitored investigation through an SIT.

“There is nothing adversarial in this matter. We will therefore first see the reports and then decide whether a SIT should be set up. This SIT could follow the investigation... whatever has been claimed to be investigated by the Multi-Agency Group,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, said.

The court asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to furnish in a sealed envelope all six reports by MAG, which will be examined by the bench before taking a call on whether these reports could also be shared with Delhi-based lawyer Sharma.

In his contention, Sharma claimed that MAG was deliberately going slow, and that various incriminating materials were being concealed from the apex court.

He further submitted that nobody knew the actual status of the investigation into the Indian offshore bank account holders named in the Panama Papers. He sought direction for setting up of the SIT.

Kumar, however, claimed that the investigation was on the right track.
“The Multi-Agency Group has issued notices to more than 400 people and their replies are also coming,” he said, adding MAG has completed its sixth report in the ongoing investigation.

MAG consists of officers from the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Reserve Bank of India, Enforcement Directorate and Financial Intelligence Unit. MAG has also shared its reports with the apex court-appointed SIT on black money.
 

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