Exactly one year after the Panama papers named Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan and Mahima Choudhary as Indian personalities having money stashed abroad, another similar investigation was unleashed today in front of the world. Done by the same group of journalists -- documents obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in partnership with The Indian Express in India -- called Paradise Papers.
Here is the first report of the global investigation by Indian Express and here is the link for the live updates and developments that will happen throughout the day today. The problem is, this time Bollywood again features strongly in that list with one name reappearing again. It's of global superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Showing the alleged offshore dealings of the world’s rich and famous, Paradise Papers, are a cache of 13.4 million financial documents. In India, the Indian Express investigated these records for over 10 months to come up with the India list with over 714 names of people and companies who have stashed money in tax havens through offshore entities. The two law firms who are in the eye of the expose are Bermuda firm, Appleby and Singapore-based Asiaciti that helped celebrities and industrialists shuffle money from and to tax havens to avoid or evade taxes.
Out of all the names, the ones that shine out are Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt’s wife Manyata Dutt. Though sources say that Amitabh Bachchan is in the process of issuing a statement on the same, Maanyata Dutt has already issued one.. “As per the requirements of provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961, all the properties, company or body corporate or shares in any company are declared in the balance sheet,” said a spokesperson of Maanyata Dutt. However, the investigators and journalists working on the case say that this is an ongoing investigation and more such facts will be placed in the open soon.
This is the second time, serious allegations of stashing away black money has been levied against Bollywood and Amitabh Bachchan's name has again come to the fore. Last time, during the Panama Papers, Amitabh Bachchan penned an emotional blog to explain his stand. They also submitted documents to the Enforcement Directorate to prove their innocence.
We can only tell you that this investigation is going to have some serious implications. Watch this space for more updates.