A now-retired IAS officer who was awarded the Padma Shri, the wife of another serving IAS officer, a lawyer named in connection with the alleged kickbacks paid in the AgustaWestland helicopter scandal, top corporate executives, real estate developers and diamond merchants figure in a new list of Indians who have invested in tax havens II such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
They are among 612 Indians whose names were published in a global media exposé earlier this year and more than 500 of them have now got notices from the income tax department, seeking details and transactions of all their offshore firms and trusts.
The exposé by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in collaboration with 38 media organisations around the world, including the The Indian Express, was published in early April.
It contained details of more than 1.2 lakh offshore companies and trusts of individuals and companies in more than 170 countries and territories, including 612 Indians.
Of these 612, The Indian Express had published a first list of 20 prominent names that included two Members of Parliament — Lok Sabha Congress MP Vivekanand Gaddam and RS member Vijay Mallya — and several industrialists such as Ravikant Ruia, Samir Modi, Chetan Burman, Abhay Kumar Oswal, Rahul Mammen Mappillai, Teja Raju, Saurabh Mittal and Vinod Doshi.
The new names being published Wednesday include former IAS officer Anil Lakhina; Delhi power secretary R K Verma’s wife Ritu Verma; Gautam Khaitan, a lawyer named in connection with the AgustaWestland helicopter scandal; and Anand K Pandit, a director on the board of Syndicate Bank.
n Lakhina registered a company named Vanazon Ltd., in the BVI in October 2007 when he was a senior IAS officer and chairman and managing director of the public sector Rural Electrification Corporation. Lakhina, who headed REC from August 2005 to February 2008, is listed as a shareholder in Vanazon.
IAS officers need the government’s permission to own shares in a company while RBI approval is required to open a company abroad. There is no evidence to suggest Lakhina obtained either.
Lakhina was conferred the Padma Shri in 1986 for his innovative style of maintaining files, which went on to be described as the ‘Lakhina model’. He retired in 2008.
“I have no recollection about such an entity. And I no longer live in the New Delhi address given,” Lakhina said when reached for his comment.
n Ritu Verma, wife of Delhi power