Corporate Lobbyist Deepak Talwar Under Income Tax Scanner For $100 Million Undisclosed Income
In what could be the biggest aviation scam of India, the income-tax department has filed five prosecution complaints against corporate consultant Deepak Talwar for allegedly receiving kickbacks worth hundreds of crores of rupees in individual and corporate bank accounts controlled by him and his family members in various tax jurisdictions, including tax havens, across the world, said a report by the News18.
Deepak Talwar, the lobbyist, was raided by the I-T department in June 2016, maintained close relations with senior UPA functionaries. After several leads, the I-T departments had raided Talwar’s establishments in June last year. Since then, the accused has been questioned several times. Detectives have been trying to connect the dots from his answers only to find out that there is a complex structure to move these funds to safe tax havens.
The IT officials say investigations have pointed out that undue favour was given to particular airlines and aviation companies under the supervision of senior government officials during the rule of contemporary UPA government.
As per investigation details, the corporate lobbyist maintained cordial relations with senior government functionaries to seal his deals. Deepak Talwar has been associated with FDI projects since the days of Narasimha Rao government.
Talwar’s undisclosed assets and ways of acquiring them
The investigations department of the IT department has filed a thousand-page report that points out Talwar’s relationship with top officials working integrally with the UPA government at the Centre. Talwar allegedly used these influences to work his way through various bilateral agreements related to civil aviation. This directly benefited his clients, the Gulf-based international airlines.
The prosecution complaint says, “Deepak Talwar received more than $100 million in foreign accounts through a complex structure of Trusts in different tax jurisdictions,” as reported by News18. These have been received through inward remittances in the offshore accounts of some major international airlines operating out of India and such many other entities. However, outward remittance shows that the money is being invested in assets in Dubai and the UK. A part of the money in foreign bank accounts was used to acquire a five-star hotel near the IGI Airport, Aerocity, New Delhi.
Deepak Talwar’s son Aditya and entities controlled these activities through a complex system of Trusts in countries like Singapore, Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) as per information collected through secret banking activities of Talwar. This data was procured by tax authorities under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
Tax officials claim to have found $100 million in accounts of entities controlled by the Talwars. The prosecution report says bank statements of accounts controlled by Deepak Talwar show that 9.6 million was paid by the Qatar Airways, $ 10.01 million by an individual named Abdul Rahim Al Ali and $9.8 million by another aviation giant Air Arabia.
After signing of bilateral agreements, in the past 7 years, footprints of aviation companies from the Gulf have increased phenomenally. Air Arabia’s business in India has increased in India by a whopping 750%. Emirates and AirAsia as well are no longer lagging behind when it comes to the expansion of their business in India, their expansion being at 500%.
Talwar has helped in the functioning of many international airlines in India, according to the claims made by the tax officials. Talwar has helped them by getting permits to expand their business in India. The reports further suggest that Talwar allegedly influenced policy changes in ground handling in order to facilitate the smooth participation of foreign players.
An Air Arabia spokesperson told the News18, “We deny media reports referring to hiring a third-party intermediate to secure air traffic rights in India, such negotiations are done on a bilateral and reciprocal basis of civil aviation authorities of both the countries.”
Tanveer Ahmed Mir, Deepak Talwar’s lawyer, who has been associated with all his FDI projects since the days of the PV Narasimha Rao government, told “We deny all allegations that have been levelled against us,” according to a report by the Business Standard. He further said, “Till today, I-T assessing officer has not passed any order whether in favour or against my client since the June 2016 searches conducted by the I-T department.”
Other instances of being in news
According to a report by the Economic Times, The corporate lobbyist had previously made headlines when it came to the forefront that he had visited the official residence of former CBI director Ranjit Sinha at least 63 times in the last 15 months. Most of these visits took place when the CBI was investigating the Nira Radia tapes, on the directions of the apex court. The CBI had mentioned names of Radia along with lobbyist Talwar and ex-civil aviation secretary Madhavan Nambiar.
The Logical Indian take
The logical Indian community strongly condemns the activities of money laundering undertaken by Deepak Talwar. It urges the concerned authorities to look into the matter and ensure that he is charged and guilty and booked under appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code.