The Income Tax Department earlier this year served notices to the wife and three children of Reliance Industries Chairperson Mukesh Ambani for allegedly having undisclosed foreign income and assets, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.

The notices were issued on March 28 to Nita Ambani, Anant Ambani, Akash Ambani and Isha Ambani under the Black Money Act, 2015, after an investigation with the help of information from agencies in several countries, the newspaper said.

When questioned about the notices and the allegations, a Reliance spokesperson told The Indian Express: “We deny all the contents of your email including receipt of any such notice.”

The investigation in the matter began after the Centre in 2011 received details of around 700 Indian individuals and entities with accounts in HSBC Bank in Geneva. The number was later found to be 1,195 through an investigation by The Indian Express and the International Consortium of Journalists in 2015. The newspaper had found that 14 accounts with a total balance of $601 million were held in tax havens by offshore entities linked to the Reliance Group through associates and offshore holdings.

The allegations

The income tax inquiry report, dated February 4, and the notices sent on March 28 stated that members of the Ambani family were named as the “ultimate beneficiaries” of one of these 14 accounts, which was held by the Capital Investment Trust.

The tax department alleged that the Ambanis failed to disclose details and holdings in Capital Investment Trust and in a company owned by it based in Cayman Islands. They were the ultimate beneficiaries of the holdings, the notice said, according to The Indian Express. Cayman Islands is considered a tax haven.

Another entity, called Harinarayan Enterprises, which has a Mumbai address, also identified Ambanis as the ultimate beneficiaries.

According to the 2012 Finance Bill, assessees are required to disclose details of all foreign bank accounts, trusts, financial interest or immovable property or assets held outside India. The tax notice said that the Ambanis did not even avail of the Black Money Disclosure Scheme of 2015, under which the government gave four months for people to declare any previously-undisclosed foreign income or assets.

The Ambanis were asked in the notice to produce evidence in their support for the assessment of the undisclosed foreign assets for 2018-’19 in a hearing on April 12. The newspaper did not provide any details of the hearing or how the matter has proceeded since then.

The tax department’s investigation had concluded about three months before the notices were issued. The investigation found that the Cayman Islands-based subsidiary of Capital Investment Trust had invested in two Reliance subsidiaries, but its name was not mentioned in the list of shareholders. The money invested reached the Reliance Industries Holding Pvt Ltd, whose ultimate beneficiaries are the four members of the Ambani family.

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