Over hundred of individuals and entities are getting probed by the Mumbai team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Panama Papers case.
Statement of some of these names have been recorded and many of them would start getting fresh summons for the next round of interrogation scheduled for next month. The list of persons to be interrogated includes several Bollywood celebrities.
Sources in ED office confirmed with India Today that Bollywood superstars namely, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Ajay Devgn would be among the names against whom summons would be issued shortly from the agency under Section 37 of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The ED has initiated investigations to probe the alleged contravention of Forex laws by the individuals and entities named in this list under the provisions of the FEMA.
"In a phase-wise manner, concerned individuals and entities are being summoned and statements have been recorded. In the next phase, another set of names would be summoned. It could include film stars as well, whose names and addresses were found to be part of the leaked data of 2,10,000 offshore companies incorporated by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca," the source said.
The ED declined to reveal the exact date or week on which these Bollywood actors would be summoned for interrogation at Mumbai office. "We would insist that the actors themselves should come at ED office and face the investigation, rather than sending their representatives," the source continued.
Lately, on the direction from central government, the ED instructed its zonal units in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and other cities to send summons under Section 37 of FEMA to all concerned persons.
ROLE OF ACTORS
As per the information available in public domain, Ajay Devgn is said to have bought 1,000 shares of a British Virgin Islands company, Marylebone Entertainment Ltd., which was incorporated in 2013. Devgn bought the shares in the name of his company Nysa Yug Entertainment, which he owns along with his wife Kajol.
In his official statement, the actor had admitted to holding the said overseas account, but clarified that he had made proper disclosure about the same while filing for tax returns before the Income Tax Department.
In the case of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the leaked documents revealed that the former Miss World and her family members were part of a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands for at least three years.
The Panama Papers has alleged that Amitabh Bachchan was the director in at least four offshore shipping companies. Those companies were registered in tax havens - one in the British Virgin Islands and three in the Bahamas in November 1993, two years before he launched his company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL) in 1995.
BIG DENIES ALLEGATIONS
However, Bachchan denied his links in Panama Papers. In a press release, Bachchan had stated, "I do not know any of the companies referred i.e. Sea Bulk Shipping Company Ltd, Lady Shipping Ltd, Treasure Shipping Ltd, and Tramp Shipping Ltd. I have never been a director of any of the above stated companies. It is possible that my name has been misused. I have paid all my taxes including on monies spent by me overseas. Monies that I have remitted overseas have been in compliance with law, including remittances through LRS, after paying Indian taxes."
However, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has indicated that tax authorities and agencies are conducting investigations and prosecutions are also being launched in cases where documents have been received. But he also clarified that nobody would be punished without a proper process.