“Golden Passports” from Cyprus in violation of Article 9 of the Constitution

Indian passport holders obtained “Golden Passports” from Cyprus in violation of Article 9 of the Constitution- Prosecute them under the relevant laws

Cyprus Golden Passport


Shri A K Bhalla

Union Home Secretary

Dear Shri Bhalla,

The Indian Express has recently conducted a comprehensive investigation into a scandal involving a number of Indian citizens who obtained “Golden Passports” from the Cyprus government around 2017-18 by making investments under a special scheme offered by that country. The investments made by many of them apparently involved illicit wealth accumulated from their businesses in India, taking advantage of the existing regulatory loopholes and inadequate regulatory oversight. The relevant Indian Express report (IER) is accessible at https://indianexpress.com/article/express-exclusive/from-down-under-to-switzerland-via-dubai-pankaj-oswal-wife-hit-a-hurdle-in-cyprus-9028349/

According to the IER cited above, there are at least 66 persons of Indian origin, involved in domestic business operations, who obtained Golden Passports from Cyprus. Many among them may be carrying valid Indian passports, as evident from the following portion of that news report.

“according to the last available record in January 2018, the wait for a bank account continued. In May 2018, the Oswals were issued their Cypriot passports. In March 2019, Radhika and Pankaj Oswal identified themselves with their Indian passport numbers and instructed ConnectedSky “to proceed with the strike off” of Cyprol Limited”

I have time and again written to the Union Finance Minister (https://countercurrents.org/2023/02/overseas-shell-companies-a-shadow-economy-a-threat-t-national-interest/) and others concerned that the promoters of several Indian business groups had set up overseas shell companies in which they stashed their illicitly earned wealth, creating a shadow economy, not only to evade taxes but also to externally manipulate the domestic stock market to plunder domestic investors’ hard-earned investments and gain control over India’s precious natural resources, infrastructure facilities and so on.  Apparently, in league with them, the concerned authorities have deliberately allowed regulatory loopholes to continue, making it possible to carry on their clandestine operations. It is possible that some such corporate groups are also anonymously funding the political parties for quid pro quos through the egregious Electoral Bond scheme.

It is necessary for the government and its investigating agencies, especially the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI, to approach the Cyprus government and secure access to the names of Indian citizens and persons of Indian origin who have made investments to get Golden Passports, obtain the details of their shell companies and the funds stashed in them, the financial transactions in which they are involved that would have resulted in tax evasion, manipulation of the Indian stock market and illegal acquisition of assets in India and initiate appropriate action under the relevant laws.

In addition, Article 9 of the Constitution prohibits Indian citizens from obtaining overseas citizenship

(“Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens.— No person shall be acitizen of India by virtue of article 5, or be deemed to be a citizen of India by virtue of article 6 or article 8, if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign State”)

Under Article 9 and the other relevant citizenship laws, I request the Home Ministry to identify Indian passport holders and their associates involved in this scandal and initiate prosecution proceedings against them. An investigation should also be instituted as to whether some individuals in India and regulatory authorities connived with them in this.

I hope that the Home Ministry coordinates action with the other Ministries and agencies to bring the culprits to book without delay.


Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to the Government of India



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