New Delhi: Actor Amitabh Bachchan has spoken at length about his name featuring in the Panama papers and Bofors scandal, explaining that he has always cooperated with the "system" but wishes to be left alone at this stage of his life.
Bachchan wrote his anguished post on his blog and said, "Tomorrow there could be more and the process of cooperation shall continue..."
His outpouring came hours before the Indian Express newspaper reported that the actor is one of the more than 700 Indian individuals and entities figuring in the Paradise Papers, an investigation into offshore and banking assets carried out by the newspaper with the International Consortium
of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
It is not clear if the actor knew about the Paradise Papers beforehand or that his name was going to figure in the list.
The actor's post began as a response to a BMC notice sent to him for alleged "illegal construction" on his property and went on to discuss his experiences after he was named in the Panama Papers, another ICIJ investigation, and the Bofors gun pay-off scandal. It did not mention the Paradise Papers.
"At this age and time of my life, I seek peace and freedom from prominence... To be left to lead the last few years of my life with and within myself...," Amitabh posted on his blog on Sunday.
"In recent months I find my name appear again in the leaks of Panama, as produced by the Indian Express... the paper has asked for reactions, for responses, for justification or not, for replies to their investigative queries."
The actor said two "instant replies" were given out by him of "denial and misuse of name" but the questions continued.
"Immediately after this, the system took over and since its revelation in the Express, has summoned me... at least 6 summons have been served to us and continue to come... Each one of them, he said, was "diligently, dutifully and duly replied to".
Personal appearances were ordered and he complied -- at different agency offices, both in Mumbai and in Delhi, both from Tax and Enforcement Departments and of their respective Intelligence Wings.
Reconstituted Multi-Agency Group to probe Paradise Papers: Government
A Multi-Agency Group (MAG) will investigate the Paradise Papers on offshore financial holdings, including a list 714 Indian individuals and entities, the government said on Monday.
The government also said that it had so far zeroed in on 147 actionable cases and 279 non-actionable cases relating to the earlier published Panama Papers.
"The government has directed that investigations in cases of Paradise Papers will be monitored through a reconstituted Multi-Agency Group, headed by CBDT Chairman and including representatives from the Central Board of Direct Taxes, ED (Enforcement Directorate), RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit)," a Finance Ministry release said here.
According to official sources here, the MAG would be a reconstitution of the committee formed last April to investigate the Indians named in the Panama Papers who were accused of stashing money in offshore entities to evade taxes.
The Panama Papers disclosures too had been made by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
India ranks 19th among 180 countries whose citizens and companies parked their wealth in secretive tax havens abroad, according to a fresh global investigation whose first lot of revelations were published on Monday.
There are 714 Indians in the list, the Indian Express said in a front page banner story done as part of a worldwide ICIJ probe.
About Paradise Papers
The Paradise Papers is a set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment. In some cases, these investments might have been used to conceal income from taxation.
The Paradise Papers was leaked to the public on 5 November 2017 and the documents originate from the offshore law firm Appleby.
These papers contain the names of more than 120,000 people and companies and among those whose financial affairs are mentioned are Queen Elizabeth II, the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross. As per reports, the amount of money involved is around $10 trillion.