ED quizzes Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for 6 hours in Panama case

NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday at its headquarters in central Delhi in a case linked to the 2016 ‘Panama Papers’ case. She is facing money laundering allegations for her involvement in an offshore entity/trust.

Sources said Aishwarya Rai is one of the directors of an entity/trust which is being probed for alleged money laundering of tax evaded income. Her mother and other family members are also likely to be questioned in the same case for their involvement with the entity.

Her husband Abhishek Bachchan and father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan are already facing investigations in separate cases being probed by ED under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The Bachchans, including Aishwarya Rai, have been questioned for their involvement in separate entities registered in tax havens as early as 2004-05. Many of these entities, generally created for tax evasion and holding of unaccounted assets, have been shut down since the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers leaks in 2016.

So far, a multi-agency probe has revealed unaccounted income of more than Rs 20,000 crore laundered by at least 970 entities/individuals in the two paper-leak cases, according to the finance ministry. Many of these cases have been booked under the Black Money Act and the PMLA. Taxes of Rs 154 crore have been collected from some of the entities/individuals in some cases.

According to the ministry, in 52 cases of Panama Papers and Paradise Papers leaks, criminal prosecution complaints have been filed under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act. Further, in 130 cases proceedings under the Black Money Act have been initiated.

Further, in the recent Pandora Papers leak, the government has constituted a multi-agency group (MAG) to investigate the cases. It has members from the ED, RBI, Income Tax department, and the Financial Intelligence Unit India.

By William Regal

Used to think I was a tad indecisive, but now I’m not quite sure.

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