Actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan today appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi for questioning in connection with the ‘Panama Papers’-FEMA case. Earlier, Rai was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the case which is being investigated by a Special Investigation Team consisting of officers from various government agencies, news agency ANI reported. This was the third time that ED has asked her to appear before it. She had sought adjournment on the previous two occasions. The Panama Papers leak came to the fore in 2016 when The Indian Express, in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists & Suddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, had reported citing records maintained by Mossack Fonseca (MF), a Panamanian firm that helps set up offshore entities, that Aishwarya Rai and her family were part of a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. The BVI is a tax haven. The report alleged that Rai, her father Kotedadi Ramana Rai Krishna Rai, mother Vrinda Krishna Raj Rai and brother Aditya Rai were appointed as directors of Amic Partners Limited on May 14, 2005. Amic Partners Limited had an initial authorised capital of $50,000.
Rai’s name was among the 500 Indians who featured in the list alleging a massive leak of 11.5 million dollar tax documents exposing secret offshore entities. The list also included the name of Bollywood superstar and Rai’s father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan.
The multi-agency SIT probing the Panama papers leak were investigating 426 Indians and had detected black money of over Rs 1,000 crore in the cases.
Responding to the expose, Aishwarya Rai had questioned the veracity of the reports as well as of the ICIJ while terming the allegations ‘totally untrue and false’.