On the Pandora Papers list: an IRS officer and a former chief IT commissioner


TWO former Indian Revenue Service agents, one who was arrested for alleged bribery and money laundering, and another who was chief income tax commissioner, have bank accounts in Switzerland, according to an investigation of the Pandora Papers by The Indian Express.

Homi Rajvansh (IRS, lot 1985) was Additional Managing Director of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) when he was charged with corruption and money laundering and for giving unjustified gains to private parties during its mandate.

He was arrested by the CBI in 2011 and the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) alleged that he owned disproportionate assets worth Rs 2.9 crore. In 2019, Rajvansh was put on “mandatory retirement” by the government.

New files, investigated by The Indian Express, show that the Swiss OAG (Office of the Attorney General) had, in 2013, seized all the files as evidence and imposed sanctions on two offshore companies created by Rajvansh: Horsham Technologies Ltd and Wairoa Industries Inc..

These two companies were created by the Trident Trust in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Horsham was incorporated with Homi Rajvansh and his wife, Alka Rajvansh, as beneficial owner in 2004. Documents show that Wairoa Industries Inc has been in existence since 2011.

Horsham’s records show that its original documents will belong to the Swiss Trust AG. Its “object” is indicated as the holding of “bankable assets” and it is written that the company will subsequently be liquidated. The form indicates that Horsham will hold a bank account with Credit Suisse.

By the way, even while serving in the government, Homi Rajvansh, according to records, posed as an “independent commodity broker” when establishing the BVI companies. The records show his residential address in Delhi’s Grand Kailash.

Swiss authorities have launched criminal proceedings, seized all evidence such as contact details of offshore companies, bank details and asset information and imposed a communication ban even within banks.

Later, the BVI Attorney General and Homi Rajvansh himself were informed of the Swiss criminal proceedings.

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Significantly, the records show that in 2012, Credit Suisse AG, Zurich (which held Rajvansh’s mailing address) and Clariden Leu Trust (which held its bank accounts) launched Suspicious Transaction Reports (SARs) and, in accordance with Swiss procedure, alerted the BVG.

The criminal complaint filed by the OAG against Horsham, Homi Rajvansh and Alka Rajvansh notes: the property was of criminal origin.

The OAG reiterated: “It cannot be excluded that the assets transferred to customer accounts are linked to the offenses alleged against Homi Rajvansh in India.

The BVG’s criminal complaint also refers to another “numbered” account in the name of Alka Rajvansh under the code name “Sunlight”. The OAG report states that “according to Homi and Alka Rajvansh, the assets were derived from their activities as independent commodity brokers…”

The criminal complaint filed by OAG in the case of Wairoa Industries Inc, lists transactions made by the offshore company through the Clariden Leu account. For example, in 2004, there was a transfer of $ 320,000; in 2009, a transfer of $ 140,000.

In 2015, Trident Trust employees exchanged letters on Wairoa Industries and referred to its allegations of money laundering offenses under the Swiss Criminal Code.

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Former Chief Income Tax Commissioner Sushil Gupta is featured in Pandora Papers in a Trident Trust Company registration form.

It shows that Gupta registered an Allied Trading Ltd company in January 2017 describing itself as the “business owner” of an Indian company Hopewell Tradelink.

Records of Allied Trading Ltd, according to the document, are to be kept by a Cyprus-based company, Aster Worldwide Ltd. The activity of BVI is indicated as “investment holding”.

Significantly, the company’s opening form states that the “owners’ funds” would be held in Switzerland and that the estimated value of Sushil Kumar Gupta’s assets would be $ 500,000.

Hopewell Tradelink is engaged in the wholesale trade of commodities and has other members of his family besides himself as directors. Its paid-up capital is Rs 47 lakh.

When contacted, Gupta said: “I retired from the income tax department 20 years ago and am not obligated to answer such questions from anyone. “

Responding to questions from the Indian Express, Homi Rajvansh said that in 2015 he was asked to provide “similar clarifications” to the Swiss Department of Criminal Justice “by disclosing a full set of documents ( related to companies incorporated abroad as well as details of Swiss companies). bank accounts) transmitted by the Swiss authorities to the Indian authorities.

“On November 6, 2015, in response to my response to the Swiss authorities categorically denying any involvement or association with said companies / allegations, I received a communication from the Swiss Department of Criminal Justice, informing me that the investigation initiated in 2012 by the Swiss Criminal Justice Department were completely abandoned by them on May 27, 2015 and the proceedings were completely dropped.

“Likewise, in India an attempt was also made to slander me and my wife and allegations that I have assets disproportionate to my income have been made against us. However, the Indian criminal courts also honorably acquitted my wife and I in the DA case at the time of the prosecution itself, ”he said.

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