The Panama Papers pertain to leaked documents that point towards fraud and tax evasion by many individuals and corporate entities across the world. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s name featured in the list of 500 Indians who were named in the massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents exposing their secret offshore dealings. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s name is also featured in the list.
Vivek Velankar, an RTI activist told Afternoon Voice, “The present government came to power with an assurance that they will bring back the black money and put an end to the corruption, but now after being in power for so many years there is not even a single action or word from the ruling government on this issue. Secondly, in 2019, the topic of corruption or black money has disappeared from their manifesto as well, so there are possibilities of big people being involved in this or the government does not want to do any action on them.”
Deepak Bagri, a Congress worker said, “Black Money reality is slowly dawning on us. It was an empty promise given to gullible voters. We have been taken for a royal ride waiting for the Black money to return to India from foreign. Does this mean we have to forget about Rs 15 lakhs in our account as promised by then the Prime Minister aspirant Modi, who had informed us earlier that Rs.1,35,000 crores of Indian Black Money are residing in Swiss and other banks, which he will target and recover during the Election Campaign?”
Sandeep Manudhane an Educationist and Entrepreneur write, “Many of the super-rich Indians, first-generation or otherwise, decided they’ll have nothing or little to do with the regular taxation system back home, as that would be too tiresome, unfair and extortionist. They decided to siphon their wealth, or a large part of it, outside India to places like BVI, Cayman Islands, or Panama, where it’d be safe from the prying eyes of the taxmen, to be enjoyed at leisure later. Sadly, some pure soul in Panama decided to take some load off itself and brought a few lac documents to public attention worldwide! So, we have yet another proof of what everyone suspected always.”
Senior journalist Rajiv Bajaj said, “The Panama Papers leak dates to 2016; that’s almost 5-6 years ago. While it is incumbent on all government agencies to investigate even the hint of illegality anywhere, one must remember there is any number of legal and clean entities that also feature in the same leaks. It would be unfair to paint everyone who features in the Panama Papers Leak (as in anyone who has an offshore account or has a foreign registered company) as guilty of money laundering or tax evasion. Unfortunately, since a large number of celebrities are featured in the Panama Papers there will be the inevitable screaming headlines and media trial which I fear will just obfuscate the truth. Just look at what’s happened in the Bofors case, the HDW submarine case, the Jain Hawala Diaries…”
Uttam Agarwal, Chartered Accountant said, “Governments across the world have begun investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful after a recent leak of four decades of documents from a Panamanian law firm that specialized in setting up offshore companies. The “Panama Papers” revealed the financial arrangements of politicians and public figures. The Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The records were shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).”
Rajan Shedbalkar, CEO of RJ Academics said, “It is part of the Echo System Developed in Congress timeline. Especially, many foreign companies will be involved in this by taking loopholes in the system. Whether it’s Pandora papers or Panama papers or any other corrupt dealings. People should be investigated whether it’s Amitabh, Sachin or any other big politicians, corporates. Agencies should also declare what they found after investigation. Not only investigation done, but SEBI or relevant agencies should make strong law amendments.”
Navin Bhaven a banker, “There is no verdict about Panama leaks. It makes me raise a few questions. Why the focus is only on Aishwarya Rai? The other names Vinod Adani and KP Singh didn’t come under light and the other 500+ people names in unsolved is still a mystery. Other questions are, whether Aishwarya is the easy target? Or is Aishwarya’s name is protecting shield to safeguard other important names?”
Mohammad Saifi, a tourist driver said, “These types of news are hoaxes. All these while we were listening about Swiss bank accounts, BJP came to power making noises on Swiss accounts and black money, can you see any fruitful conclusion to their claims, similarly it’s UP-election time, they are rabble-rousing about Panama, after elections everything would settle down.”
On the work front, Aishwarya will be next seen in Mani Ratnam’s much-awaited historical film ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, which is based on writer Kalki’s classic novel of the same name. The Enforcement Directorate has summoned actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the Panama Papers Leak case. ED had registered the case after Panama Papers showed how companies were set up in offshore islands to avoid taxes. She is asked to appear before ED’s Delhi office on Monday (December 20).
Aishwarya had sought adjournments on two occasions earlier. The plea of adjournment was made to the special investigation team probing the Panama Papers case. The actress may appear before the prove agency today. The ED wants to question her over allegations of stashing wealth abroad.
On a related note, the Income Tax Department has detected total undisclosed credits worth Rs 20,353 crore for 930 India-linked entities in the Panama and Paradise paper leaks, the government informed the Parliament. Taxes collected so far amount to Rs 153.88 crore in the Panama and Paradise paper leaks, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary stated in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on December 7, 2021.