World
Now, Bahamas Papers expose on 475 India-linked names with offshore accounts
A fresh expose on what is being termed as 'Bahamas Papers' has listed 475 India-related people, trusts and companies registered in the tax haven, including Vedanta Group's Anil Agarwal, erstwhile Baron Group's Kabir Mulchandani and Fashion TV India promoter Aman Gupta.
 
This have been revealed by The Indian Express, which says a new cache of documents is with German newspaper Suddeutche Zeitung, which has, in turn, shared it with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its media partners, including the Indian paper.
 
The 475 India-related dossiers are part of over 175,000 global ones, said the paper. The leaks, nonetheless, do not necessarily indicate any illegality on part of the offshore holdings.
 
Non-resident Indians who are citizens of other countries do not violate Indian laws by holding such companies. Bahamas, a tax haven, is a group of 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba.
 
Probe is on in the case of previous expose, which came to light following the leak of papers belonging to a Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca which helped in the setting up of offshore firms.
 
The release of fresh leaks comes days before the September 30 deadline of the Indian government for individuals and corporates to declare their hidden wealth and come clean by paying a 45-per cent penalty. 
 
Anil Agarwal's name is linked with a trust in which he is named as a director. "Onclave PTC is a trust company, acting as a trustee of Agarwal's family trust. This information is disclosed to the income tax authorities," a spokesman is quoted as having told the newspaper.
 
Prasad and Prakash Nimmagadda, with interests in realty to pharmaceuticals, is another set of names. Prasad is already being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in another case, which had also arrested him in May 2012, and got bail 17 months later, the newspaper said.
 
"I would not like to discuss this issue over phone. We can meet personally and talk about it. I will tell you everything," Prasad has been quoted as telling the Express. This was followed by calls by his office later cancelling a total of three appointments that had been fixed, the Express said.
 
As regards Chandigarh-based Harbhajan Kaur and Gurjit Dhillon, mother-daughter duo linked to one Century Industries registered in the Bahamas, both denied any knowledge. Aman Gupta, chairman of a Finnish water brand, said he is an NRI and that the company in question was inactive.
 
In Rajan Madhu's case, -- stated as the brother-in-law of pharma tycoon Gautam Thadani, licence holder for Fashion TV and the 'F' brand in India and a director in 15 companies -- the Bahamas link is allegedly with Pollux Corporate Service. Madhu did not respond to Express queries.
 
Then there are Ganapati Rathinam, Shomik Prasanna Mukherjee, Prabir Harshad Talati and Nitin Vashdev Meran, all of whom declined any wrong-doing. Naresh Kumar Modi of New Delhi is mentioned as sole director of an offshore company, but he was out of station when Express visited him.
 
Myra Delores Rego of Mumbai and Ashok Chalwa of Delhi are linked with an American and a Brit. The former said the company she is linked with is dormant and that they merely used her name, while Chawla said he was framed, and that he was never a director in any offshore company.
 
Finally, the names of Sanjiv Kapoor, Jitendra P. Patra and Sadat Rafiq Multani have been inter-linked, along with Dubai-based Kabir Mulchandani, who pioneered India's colour TV movement in the 1990s. 
 
Kapoor said he was holding shares in the Bahamas company in a fiduciary capacity -- corroborated by Munlchandani, while Multani denied owning any company in the Bahamas. The paper was silent on Patra's response, if he gave any.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Pity the Overworked Athlete
This author loves sports, and the bias may show. Professional sports were historically looked down upon. The British institutionalised them, classifying the amateur cricketer, usually a rich man’s son, as a ‘Gentleman’, and the working-class chap, earning a few pennies, as a ‘Player’. Talk of caste systems!
 
Next came the Olympics. Professionals were pariahs, paid trainers disallowed, the best athletes banned. Iron Curtain dope-filled ‘sportsmen’ were taking home the ‘gold’. India had sports-persons who did not know where their working desks were. They got salaries, promotions, special rations, equipment—the best and for free—special leave, the works. They were still called amateurs! There were no legal remedies.
 
Times change. Distinctions and barriers were erased. Reports flaunted the money earned. Legal suits followed. Professionalism in every sport, from cricket to kabaddi, brought legal heads to TV channels and promoters.
 
Welcome to the wide, wonderful, world of sports litigation.
 
America has major league baseball and minor league softball games. There is money; top guns make big bucks, marry film stars. The minor leaguers struggled to go ‘up the ladder’ with long hours, hard work. As with wage-earners of the ‘jitna daam, utna kaam’ persuasion, they felt that they were overworked and underpaid. They trooped to court.
 
Their grouse was that their employers had run afoul of the California Fair Labour Standards Act. This law presupposes two things. One, only those below a certain salary can claim overtime and only for certain nature of the work. ‘Cerebral’ activity is excluded, as opposed to ‘manual’. It does not recognise artists, music composers and inventors, who work with originality, talent or creative features. That left the labourer, the clerk, the slogger, the run-of-the-mill worker, within the pale.
 
The ball-players insisted on overtime pay. The issue was critical. Come December, the cut-off salary was due to almost double, bringing in many other claimants, including the better-paid minor stars. The bosses countered, “Nothing doing, the players are not labourers.”
 
You be the judge. On which side would you lean and why?
 
Which category did the baseball-players fit into? Was their work manual or creative? Would a ‘touch artist’, like Ramanathan Krishnan, be excluded, while a slogger, like McEnroe, be eligible? Which player would be better qualified for relief, a smart pitcher or a solid batter? Finally, had the honourable judge ever played baseball to sufficiently understand the nuances?
 
Then there was that can of worms. Other support staff would follow the players. The ball-boys (and girls) in tennis, the mechanics in motor sports, the horse-handlers, the pitch curators, the rain-cover guys, the markers in snooker and billiards, maybe even the twelfth man who runs up with the drinks.
 
The judge rejected the plaint. He based his decision on the argument that there was no basis of a commonality of the collective-action claim. The leaguers could not approach the court as class-action plaintiffs. While this would mean that individual athletes could ask for damages, each case would have to be filed, argued and determined separately. What you cannot get collectively, you may get individually. More suits, more time spent, more fees collected. Wonders never cease.
 
The matter was now pregnant with problems. To stymie a slew of court cases, the legislature is working extra hours to introduce special legislation for the Minor League. Whether it will work for other sports is to be seen; but, in the meantime, who will look after the interests of the lawmakers? Having burnt midnight oil, are they not also eligible for overtime pay?
 
It all depends on whether they admit that their work is non-cerebral. Most voters may agree.

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