NEW DELHI: Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson announced his resignation on Tuesday following mass protests triggered by the Panama Papers data leak. The leak revealed that he, along with his wife, owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.

Gunnlaugsson said that he will stay on as chairman of the Progressive Party but tapped Sigurdur Ingi Johansson, his minister of agriculture, to be the next prime minister, in a bid to save the ruling coalition. Gunnlaugsson’s resignation is yet to be accepted by the President.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) notes that Gunnlaugsson, who came to power in 2013 promising to put the national interest over financial interests after the 2008 collapse of its financial system, failed to disclose when he entered parliament in 2009 that he had owned millions of dollars worth of bonds in the collapsed banks as half-owner of an offshore company called Wintris Inc. He sold his 50% of Wintris to his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, for $1 eight months later.

That violated parliamentary ethics rules and was an undisclosed conflict of interest. Gunnlaugsson sold his half of Wintris to his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir on the last day of 2009. Palsdottir, a wealthy heiress, has said Wintris was hers all along and that a bank error resulted in her husband being listed as co-owner.

The Opposition in Iceland who demanded his resignation say that the move is not likely to save the government. Despite the resignation, Katrín Jakobsdottir, head of the Left-Green Movement, told the Reuters news agency that opposition parties still wanted early elections.

Despite announcing his resignation, Gunnlaugsson maintains that no rules were broken, and that his wife did not gain monetarily from the investment. The offshore company was used to invest millions of dollars of inherited money, according to a document signed by Mrs Palsdottir in 2015.

Further, court records show that Wintris had significant investments in the bonds of three major Icelandic banks that collapsed during the financial crisis which began in 2008.

The Prime Minister was involved in negotiations about the banks' future and had characterised foreign creditors who wanted their money back as "vultures" -- all this whilst Wintris itself was a creditor. Gunnlaugsson had kept his wife's interest in the outcome a secret.

In his resignation letter, Gunnlaugsson wrote that he did not want to stand in the way of government work and was hence, stepping down. Regarding his wife’s assets, he wrote that the family "never sought to hide these assets from Icelandic tax authorities and these holdings in Wintris have been reported as an asset on the prime minister's wife's income tax returns since 2008 and taxes have been paid accordingly in Iceland.”

“No parliamentary rules on disclosure have been broken. Even the Guardian and other media covering the story have confirmed that they have not seen any evidence to suggest that the prime minister, his wife, or Wintris engaged in any actions involving tax avoidance, tax evasion, or any dishonest financial gain."

Gunnlaugsson’s resignation is the first major political fallout from the Panama Papers leak, which found 12 heads of state, 61 of their relatives, and 128 other public officials connected to secret offshore companies.

In India -- Indians named include Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Sameer Gehlaut, KP Singh, and over 500 others -- the government announced that it was constituting a special multi-agency group to look into all cases of Indians setting up offshore entities in tax havens. “The Government is committed to detecting and preventing generation of black money. In this context, the expose of Panama Papers will further help the Government in meeting this objective…The Government will take all necessary actions as required to get maximum information from all sources including from foreign governments to help in the investigation process,” the Finance Ministry said.