The younger son of National security Advisor Ajit Doval registered a hedge fund in Cayman Islands, a tax haven, barely 13 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised 86% of the Indian currency that was in circulation in November 2016.
In a related and curious development, the FDI inflow into the country from the Cayman Islands spiked months after the company was registered by Vivek Doval, a British citizen based in Singapore.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data reveals that as much as ₹8,300 crore was invested in India in 2017-18, which was a huge jump in inflow from the Cayman Islands as an amount less than this was invested in the preceding 17 years. “It raises suspicion because what was not invested in 17 years was invested in just 12 months after Demonetisation,” quipped Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh.
“It is not enough for the RBI to say the amount came in from the Cayman Islands. The RBI must publish the list of people who made the investment,” said Ramesh, and how much they took away. This was necessary for the sake of transparency and allay suspicion that there was no round-tripping or money laundering involved,” he said.
Denying that the Congress party was levelling a serious charge against the NSA, Ramesh said that the party was simply stating facts revealed in documents.
Pointing out that the former Pakistani Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was named in the Panama Papers and had to face trial before being sentenced to imprisonment, Ramesh held that an impartial, independent and transparent inquiry was the least that was in order
The facts are that NSA’s sons, Shaurya and Vivek Doval, run a web of financial companies and some of the directors are common or family members. At least one of them, Don W Ebanks, had been named in both the Panama Papers as well as the Paradise Papers which leaked names of investors in offshore tax havens who were evading taxes. “What is the relationship between Zeus, a Shaurya Doval run company, and GNY Asia? And how did Don W Banks become a director in companies run by the NSA,” Ramesh asked.
Pointing out that the former Pakistani Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was named in the Panama Papers and had to face trial before being sentenced to imprisonment, Ramesh held that an impartial, independent and transparent inquiry was the least that was in order.
He reminded the media about a blog that Ajit Doval, a former Director of Intelligence Bureau, had written in 2011 when he had advocated a crackdown on tax havens.
The blog post under the title, “India’s Plundered Money Abroad- Can we get it back?” — Doval had recommended that the government should on its own register criminal cases against the suspected unidentified persons “who have been indulging in criminal activities and unauthorisedly transferring money to tax havens abroad” on the lines of investigation in 2G and coal scam cases. He also wrote that every candidate should also file an affidavit before the elections stating that he/she does not hold illegal money abroad.
“The same should be applied to senior appointees in the Government like RBI Governor, SEBI Chairman, CBI Director, Cabinet Secretary, IB Director, RAW Chief, CVC etc. By an act of Parliament, persons who have accumulated funds abroad should be barred from holding any public office and getting loans from bank etc as a form of punishment,” he had suggested.
In view of the blog post, it is even more shocking to find that Mr Doval’s son has registered a company in a known tax haven, the Congress leader suggested.