Yielding under “pressure”, Mauritius has for the first time provided banking information about a person being investigated by the Income Tax Department (ITD) for tax evasion and money laundering. “They (Mauritius) have given information related to a person being probed by ITD who had remitted funds from that country to India,” an official told PTI.
While the official refused to provide any further details, he said it is “a major breakthrough” in the government’s effort to track and collect proof against tax evasion and bring back the unaccounted money stashed in tax havens.
“There was lot of pressure exerted on Mauritius by Indian government and finally they provide the required information. It is for the first time we have been able to get information from them,” he said.
Indian agencies are said to have increased their vigilance after they noticed a significant surge in venture capital funds coming into the country from Mauritius in sectors like telecom and real estate.
Fund flow from tax havens have been under close scrutiny in recent times for money laundering.
Mauritius accounted for about 42 per cent or USD 54.22 billion of the total USD 130 billion worth of foreign direct investment in the country since April 2000.
India is also renegotiating its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement ( DTAA )) with Mauritius with a view to facilitating exchange of information between the two countries.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday said the government was amending the DTAAs by inserting a clause on information regarding banking sector and also entering into tax information exchange agreements (TIEA) with tax havens.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is in favour of re-negotiation of the tax treaty with Mauritius so that India could have access to banking details besides tax-related information vis-a-vis that country.
India has so far amended DTAAs and entered into TIEAs with 41 countries and tax havens.
In absence of a clause on banking sector in DTAAs, the contracting countries were not sharing information in this regard.