'Jaitley must stay away from Panama probe'

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The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have demanded that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recuse himself from any matter pertaining to the Panama Papers, alleging that the "closeness of some BJP leaders" to sports promoter Lokesh Sharma, whose name has been found in the papers, would affect a fair probe. The Congress also demanded that a judicial probe be ordered into the allegations of Indians setting up offshore entities in tax havens.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that since the Indians exposed in the leak "are known friends, well-wishers and ambassadors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi" and "only a Supreme Court-monitored investigation can be perceived as impartial."

He said the Delhi & District Cricket Association made a move to sign a three-year deal for in-stadia advertising for international matches with the 21st Century Media on October 14, 2000. The company is owned by Mr. Sharma. This agreement, he said, gave the company the right to sell corporate boxes and collect a commission.

AAP spokesperson Ashutosh said: "Mr. Jaitley, in his capacity as Finance Minister, has all the investigative agencies under him. How will he ensure a fair probe into the case involving Mr. Sharma, known to be close to him. He should resign and come clean on his links with Mr. Sharma."

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