‘Paper companies’, more commonly known as shell companies, are entities with low or no real economic activity, where the identity of the true owner is hidden in layers of secrecy. Kolkata, the first capital of colonial India and a major trading port, became the most desirable destination for the brewing network of shell companies since the 1980s. In the last five years alone, 16,000 companies were registered in the city, many with dormant operations.

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