ED grills Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for five hours in ‘Panama Papers’ leak case

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(Online Desk)

Actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan left the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) Delhi offices on Monday evening after being questioned for over five hours in connection with alleged forex violations related to the ‘Panama Papers’.

However, as of now, there is no clear statement from the officials if the actor will be summoned again.

She claimed she has parked her money in a company based in the British Virgin Islands, sources said.

A team of six officals, including a lady official, recorded her statement. A source said that Aishwarya was asked as many as 50 questions regarding a firm reportedly incorporated by her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan. She was first the director of the firm and then became a shareholder.

This was the third time that the actress was summoned. However, she didn’t join the probe on the earlier occasions.

“We had summoned her for December 20. Abiding by the third summon, she joined the probe,” said an ED official.

The 48-year-old was being questioned and her statement was being recorded under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

The actor has also submitted some documents to the agency when she appeared before the agency at its office near India Gate.

Dubbed ‘Panama Papers’, an investigation of a stockpile of records from Panamanian legal firm Mossack Fonseca by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 2016 had named several world leaders and celebrities who allegedly stashed away money abroad in offshore companies.

Some of them are stated to be holding valid overseas accounts.

The leaks tranche had a total of 426 India-linked cases.

The ED has been probing the case linked to the Bachchans since 2016-17.

It had issued notices to the Bachchan family asking them to explain their foreign remittances since 2004 under the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) and regulated under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Some documents were submitted by the Bachchans to the agency then.

Some other instances of alleged irregularities linked to the family are also under the scanner of the federal probe agency, the sources said.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, married to Amitabh Bachchan’s actor son Abhishek, was stated by the ICIJ to have links with an offshore entity in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) that was created in 2005.

Her family was also stated to be part of this offshore entity that had an “initial authorised capital of USD 50,000.

” The company was reportedly dissolved in 2008.

Abhishek Bachchan has also been examined by the ED in the past in another instance linked to the offshore leaks case, sources said.

The government had created a multi-agency group (MAG) of central investigative agencies under the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) that also comprised officials from the ED, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to monitor probe into the Panama Papers and similar global tax leaks cases.

It had recently said that “total undisclosed credits of Rs 20,353 crore” have been detected with respect to 930 India linked entities in the Panama and Paradise Paper Leaks, as on October 1, 2021.

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