Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani.
Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani.

Ambani family tax case part of wider probe on foreign income, assets under black money law

  • I-T dept has set up teams to process the references it gets on undisclosed foreign income and assets
  • Tax sleuths have reached out to other countries to see if there are any facts that may substantiate the leads related to the cases

NEW DELHI : Any action following the income tax department’s inquiry into the alleged tax evasion by family members of Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani on account of foreign income and assets will depend on the relevance of the information received from other countries, said a government official, requesting anonymity.

The income tax department has set up special teams to pursue the references it receives on undisclosed foreign income and assets, and any action, if necessary, will be taken under the black money law.

Tax sleuths have reached out to other countries to see if there are any facts that may substantiate the leads related to the cases.

“The outcome of these inquiries will depend on the quality of information received from other nations. Often, many countries take the view that attracting foreign investment is their priority rather than cooperation in tax matters," added the official.

In cases, where the information had merit, the department will take action under the Black Money Act, which will include re-assessment of past income.

An email query to the tax department remained unanswered till press time. A Mumbai-based tax official Mint reached out to declined to comment on the issue.

The Indian Express had reported on 15 September that the tax department’s probe began after the government received details of an estimated 700 Indian individuals and entities holding accounts in HSBC Geneva in 2011. The report claimed that a subsequent investigation by the daily revealed that some of the accounts held by offshore entities in tax havens had links to the Ambani family, a claim they deny. An email sent to RIL in the evening remained unanswered at the time of publishing

The Economic Times reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter, that the tax department has sought clarifications from overseas following show cause notices to Ambani’s family members regarding the alleged evasion on account of foreign income. The report cited the Ambanis as saying that the notices were illegal.

Other investigating agencies, such as the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation, are yet to take cognizance of the matter, said another official, who also requested anonymity. “The CBI or the ED can act once the IT department forwards a complaint to either of the agencies—whether it is to probe a money trail or corruption. In this case, the I-T department needs to conclude its investigations first," he added.

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