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Paradise Papers: The “loot” of Nation’s Wealth by the “ultra-rich” of the Country

India ranks 19th out of 180 countries in Paradise Papers.

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One of the largest belongs to Mukesh Ambani.
One of the largest belongs to Mukesh Ambani. Wikimedia Commons
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By Salil Gewali

India boasts of having one of the largest and expensive modern mansions in the world – second only to the palace built by Sultan of Brunei. That belongs none other than a filthy rich Mukesh Ambani. But very contrastingly, India has also often been disgraced for its maximum number of citizens who spend their nights, their weeks, their months and years in the open pavement even in the cutting cold of the winter. Yes, the country bears the burden of the largest number of poor people in the world – approximately 276 million people live below poverty line. What a vast difference between the haves – the super-rich, and the have-nots.

The “loot” of nation’s wealth by the “ultra-rich” of the country had been going on quietly until the German newspaper brought out to the open the details of Paradise Papers from Appleby, the Bermuda-based legal service provider. Needless to say, for the ultra-rich, the name of the game is “tax planning”, offshore finance, the creation of off-shore entities, et al. In the eyes of our authorities, it is about “deemed lapses in corporate governance, alleged fund diversion, irregularities in disclosure norms,” and so on. One wonders, in this scenario, what is at stake for the common man?

  As for the common man, his humble “paradise” is being looted; his God-given right to share his due is throttled. His children’s chances to come up in life, if at all there are any, are choked. His right to a “fair living” is gradually drifting apart. Because the very means of his life is plundered by a few ultra-rich. On a wider outlook, at the national level, the country’s wealth is burgled and robbed. Then who are these plunderers?

There are more than 700 of them from our country in the disclosed list of having Paradise Papers– the disclosure is still incomplete – of Paradise Papers. Very funnily, these names include persons, who the common man relies on, worship, holds in high esteem and vows to give his life for. Film star Amitabh Bachchan, who is often worshipped, Union Minister of State  Jayant Sinha, BJP Rajya Sabha M.P., R.K. Sinha, Corporate tycoon Vijay Mallya, Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, Harsha Moily, son of former UPA Minister Veerappa Moily, Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s wife Dilnashin, son of former UPA powerhouse and Central Minister P. Chidambaram, former Union Minister Sachin Pilot, and several others who is who of India’s Corporate world, politics, and other fields. Interestingly, What more? Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, Lord Ashcroft, the most prominent British politician, U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, Shakira, Madonna and notoriously disgraced Harvey Weinstein, for his sexual wrongdoings and so on and so forth.

In spite of strict regulations in every country, it would be interesting to know, how these celebrities, politicians, multinationals, and the ultra-rich individuals are hiding Paradise Papers. I’m not wrong that rules in every country have built-in loopholes. In other words, rules of every country have provided loopholes to the cunning and crafty to circumvent them. And we have got them in abundance. The very fact that our country ranks 19th out of 180 countries in Paradise Papers is certainly not something that we can cheer about.

 The wealthy form shell companies, “foundations”, and “trusts” as a cover to hide their money from tax authorities. They form “offshore” accounts that are handled by law firms specializing in these “offshore’ expertise. To the world, their forceful argument is “offshore” banking which is legal. But, this is practiced by only the ultra-rich to evade tax. They take advantage of the legal loop-hole by taking shelter under the tax treaties by our Government.

  But frankly speaking, will they ever be able to “use” that wealth? I don’t think it’s possible in the practical world. They can’t even see, touch and feel their wealth they have once dispatched. Not even after 500 years, they can use it if they ever could live.  Because these super-rich people already have countless wealth which is in their various kind of treasury vaults.  Is it not the paradise of illusion then?

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali.

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Megastar Amitabh Bachchan Talks About The Unity of a Nation

"We must define ourselves not by what we are against but by what we are for and what we can be for if we are there for each other," Big B added

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Amitabh Bachchan
If a nation isn't united, it shouldn't be called nation: Amitabh Bachchan.

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan says a nation that isnt united, shouldnt be called a nation.

Amitabh spoke at the iconic Gateway of India here on the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, as part of the third edition of ’26/11 Stories of Strength’ by Indian Express. He was joined by veteran writer Javed Akthar.

Talking about the power of oneness and unity, Amitabh Bachchan said: “On this same place last year, we pledged that we would never give shelter to terror and today we want our dream to be realised to reawaken to the power of love and oneness. We should be united to give fearless life for our future generation.

“Today, people who have a destructive mindset are knocking our doors, but we can’t fight them with similar mentalities. We can tackle it with oneness and it is the need of the hour. They don’t fear with our weapons or with our strength but they will feel fearful when we will stand together against them. They want us to get divided in terms of our religion, language, state and tradition so, we should keep that in mind that till the time we will be divided, they will try to harm us.”

Big B said a united nation is a way of building a nation.

“Being united is not a social option but it’s a way of building a nation. I think being united is a proof of being a nation and if a nation isn’t united, then I am sorry to say that it shouldn’t be called as a nation. We have to create an environment for our future generations where destructive minds would not be able harm us.”

Touching upon the evils of terrorism, Big B said: “Terrorism is not just about holding the power to kill us but it is designed to destroy the integrity of our oneness. It is a desire to make children become slaves. It is kind of collective selfishness which divides humanity into parts and portions for eventual consumption which means the oneness is not able to work on its main purpose which are development and growth.”

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Pixabay

The actor said India’s singularity is too strong to be broken by cowards.

“We have drawn lines, continents and nations on this planet but our planet is one. We have drafted lots of faith and beliefs but human kind is one and humanity is one. Our oneness, unity and singularity is not limited to fighting with terror and anti-social ideologies. Our singularity is too vast to be shaken by limited horizons. Our solidarity is too strong to be broken by cowards.

“We must define ourselves not by what we are against but by what we are for and what we can be for if we are there for each other,” Big B added.

Recounting the aftermath of the horrific night when terror struck Mumbai, Akthar said: “I clearly remember that evening just after few days of that horrific and barbarian terrorist attacks, people of Mumbai had gathered here in front of Gateway of India. At that time, we were furious, outraged and angry but at the same time, we were together and united.

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“This is what Mumbai is. We are known as a commercial capital of India and I suppose commercial is not supposed to have heart, but whenever such kind of calamity has hit the city — whether it’s a terrorist attack, flood or any other calamity, Mumbai and Mumbaikars have shown that this city has had its heart at the right place.”

Akhtar also recited his poem “Mumbai ko Salaam” to pay tribute to people who have lost their lives in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack.

Also present at the event were Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and singer Javed Ali among others. (IANS)