Among the many Indian names that have propped up in the global list of tax evaders, that has now come to be known as the Panama List, is a Kalpana Rawal, who has been largely missing in the Indian media.
Rawal is the deputy chief justice of Kenya. She was born in Bhuj (Kutch), Gujarat, 15 January 1946.
According to ICIJ, Kalpana Rawal became Kenya's Deputy Chief Justice in June 2013. She has been fighting an attempt by the Judicial Services Commission to force her to retire from Kenya’s Supreme Court on her 70th birthday in January 2016.
"She filed suit in September, arguing she was appointed under a previous constitution that let judges work until they turn 74. In December , a five-judge panel ruled against her, but she has appealed. She has noted that the issue is bigger than just her case and could effect the retirement and pension rights who were appointed under the previous constitution," says the note on the ICIJ site.
According to ICIJ Rawal moved from India to Kenya in 1973. She had assisted the International Criminal Court’s investigation of Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007-2008 and also led the probe of a 2012 helicopter crash that killed Kenya’s security minister.
A profile in Kenya Law says Rawal has 40 years of experience in the law profession. She was the first woman lawyer in Kenya and also the first woman judge of Asian origin there. She did her LLB and LLM from India and practised under PN Bhagwati, who was the 17th chief Justice of the Indian Supreme Court.
Her father UJ bBhatt had served as a judge in the Gujarat High Court, while her grandfather Jaduram Bhatt was a law minister.
How is Kalpana Rawal involved?
As per the Panama Papers investigated by ICIJ, Rawal and her husband were directors of two companies based in the British Virgin Islands, before she joined the Kenyan Supreme Court.
"The family used other offshore companies to buy and sell real estate in London and nearby Surrey. Montague Real Estate SA was used in 2004 to buy a London flat for $1.12 million, which they sold in 2006. Innovate Global Limited was used to buy a house in Surrey for $2.74 million and a London apartment which they bought for $967,000 in 2004 and sold for $1.62 million in 2013. Through Arklyn International Limited, they bought another two London apartments, one bought for $1.66 million in 2005 and sold for $2.23 million in 2011, and the other bought for $1.57 million in 2005 and sold for $2.15 million in 2012," ICIJ says revealing the details of the deals.
However, Rawal has said she had not been involved with the family businesses except for generally knowing they were involved in real estate.
She told ICIJ that she was listed as director on two of them without her knowledge by her husband when he was told two directors were required. The first one never did any transactions and is dormant. The second one acquired a property, she told ICIJ.
"My family members include my two adult sons residing in London, both of whom are British subjects and run the business as per the laws applicable in U.K," she has been quoted as saying on the ICIJ website.
She also said she has never had "any involvement direct or indirect and have no interest or control" in the other companies.
A report in the Daily Nation on Monday noted that Rawal and her husband Hasmukhrai Rawal were directors of Forrell Real Estate Inc during 2001-2007 and Rocklane Properties during 2001-2003. Both these stints were after her appointment to the judiciary in 2000, the report notes.
It also notes that Rawal was linked to as many as 11 shell companies. While she was director or shareholder in four companies, her husband was a director or shareholder of seven companies.