London: An internal probe has been launched into how the tax cases of Akshata Murthy, daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, were leaked to a newspaper. The Whitehall investigation, within the UK government’s quarters, will look into how the non-domicile status of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife was reported to ‘The Independent’ newspaper, which first published the story earlier this week. According to The Sunday Times, Sunak’s team believes the opposition Labor Party, which backs a government official known as the “red throat”, is responsible for the leak.
There’s going to be a full Cabinet Office and HM Treasury investigation to see who had that information and if anyone has requested that information. Dividing the tax status of a private person is a criminal offence, the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior government official as saying. The revelation that the chancellor’s wife, who is an Indian national, was “non-resident” for tax purposes in Britain, meant she was not legally obligated to pay tax on her foreign earnings. It drew allegations of hypocrisy from the opposition benches, pointing to the recent tax hike imposed by the Indian-origin finance minister. The Labor Party accused his family of potentially saving millions as a result of Murthy’s tax regime.
On Friday, Akshata announced that she would pay tax on all her income in the UK to avoid the issue being a constant distraction for her husband. My decision to pay UK tax on my worldwide income will not change the fact that India remains my country of birth, citizenship, home of parents and domicile. But I also love the UK, Murthy said in a Twitter statement on Saturday. It comes as a new opinion poll from Opinium shows Sunak’s approval rating has fallen three points to 28 percent since late March and his disapproval rating has risen eight points to 43 percent.
This reflects the damage to his prospects as future leader of the Conservative Party and a leading candidate to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister. Meanwhile, The Sun reports that Johnson gave a loud talk over the weekend to his finance minister and neighbor at 11 Downing Street and convinced them to resign over the tax storm. Sunak’s team told the newspaper that the prime minister has been super supportive of the cabinet minister. He was contemplating whether he could bear his family more, one of them was quoted as saying. Within his own Tory party, many are now questioning Sunak’s decision and a cabinet minister praising him was quoted as saying: It may lead him to walk away.