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Now, Niira Radia surfaces in 'Panama Papers'

Her name is allegedly linked to a company in British Virgin Islands, which her office has denied

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Apr 6 2016 11:36AM | Updated Date: Apr 7 2016 12:20PM

Now, Niira Radia surfaces in 'Panama Papers'

Niira Radia, founder of Vaishnavi Communications, whose taped telephone conversations  with some prominent people in country few years back back, including ministers, journalists and business tycoons became the matter of investigation, has now surfaced in the "Panama Papers" expose.

 
Her name is allegedly linked to a company in British Virgin Islands, which her office has denied, ‘The Indian Express’ reported on Wednesday.
 
In the article, Radia is said to have figured as a director in the 232 documents pertaining to the company listed in the tax haven, Crownmart International Group.
 
List published by the newspaper also has the names of a top business tycoon in Bellary, a prominent industrialist and a chartered accountant -- each of whom, which The Indian Express says were contacted for their responses, with many also sharing their versions.
 
Another article seeks to shows how the world's largest currency note maker De La Rue had contracted a New Delhi businessman to help bag tenders in India, in return for a 15-percent commission.
 
In middle of these allegations, Central Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that not every off-shore company opened by an Indian national need be illegitimate, and that this would be the primary task of a probe team in which the central bank has been co-opted.
 
On Radia, the paper said: "An investigation of these papers shows the existence of one offshore entity owned by Radia, an International Business Company registered in the British Virgin Islands by Mossack Fonseka in 1994 named Crownmart International Group Limited."
 
In response, her office said the said company was set up by her late father Iqbal Narain Menon and that she was not a beneficiary. Also that Radia had disclosed her assets to the authorities in UK and India and that such information was confidential for third parties.
 
In another article, the newspaper said the Indian diamond merchants, who were probed previously for having overseas accounts in Liechtenstein, British Virgin Islands and HSCB, have also surfaced in "Panama Papers".
 
Prominent among them are Rosy Blue, one of the largest diamond traders in the world, and Chetan Mehta of the Belgium-based Gembel family.
 
Paper also reported that Harshad Ramniklal Mehta of Rosy Blue did not respond to its calls or queries, while Chetan Mehta said he has been a NRI living in Belgium and that the companies were shut longtime ago.