Meghalaya’s murky links with Panama Papers: Politico-corporate nexus makes money laundering common in hill state

The Panama Papers leak in 2016 contained some curious entries. Most of the 700-odd Indian names — entertainment celebrities and businessmen — were from the big metropolises or regions with industrial activity, places you’d expect to find people with unaccounted money that needed to be spirited abroad. However, even people from small states like Meghalaya found mentions. Influential tribal and non-tribal businessmen popped up in the leaked documents. And therein lies a tale about how business is closely intertwined with politics in this hill state.

Azure Enterprises Global Inc. and Eternal Enterprises Inc., two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, are mentioned in the leaked papers as having shareholders based in Meghalaya. An investigation by the Shillong-based political activist group Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) revealed that the names of the tribal shareholders closely corresponded to Philip Pala, the younger brother of Shillong MP Vincent Pala and Lesly Shylla, who

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