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Big B & Aishwarya may be telling the truth about the Panama Papers



April 11, 2016 7:11:34 PM IST
By Rajesh Kumar Singh, Glamsham Editorial
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When there is a revelation made in the media about the rich and famous and their ‘dirty' financial wheeling dealings, people generally tend to believe that. Those who are in the know of how the media houses in India function are also aware that everything that's published in newspapers or broadcast on TV and radio is not true and quite a few journalists & media houses indulge in motivated hit jobs and blatant and baseless sensationalism.

AMITABH BACHCHAN AND AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN
AMITABH BACHCHAN AND AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN

 Any news about the Bachchans makes headlines, particularly in the TRP hungry TV media. The appearance of Big B and Aishwarya's name in the Panama Papers was bound to send strong ripples in the media if not in the film industry. Their denials of any involvement with off shore shell companies located in tax havens were also on the expected lines and as usual many took them with a pinch of salt.

Big B issued two statements in this regard through his personal public relations agency. One on 5th April 2016 and the other on 8th April 2016. In both the statements he denied having had any knowledge of the companies his name had been associated with in various media reports related to the Panama Papers.

This is what he said in his 5th April statement “ I do not know any of the companies referred to by Indian Express - 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…”.

Again in his 8th April statement which was in response to yet another article in another newspaper he said, “I wish to reiterate, that on the Panama Papers reportage in the Indian Express, I have not been a director on the Board of the 4 Companies as mentioned in an earlier report. I am happy that the GOI has instituted a thorough investigation on this issue, for, I myself am keen to know how my name appears in connection with those 4 Companies.”

These were categorical and confident official denials coming from Big B. He also welcomed the probe instituted by the Government of India that involves various agencies including the Reserve Bank of India. It's being conducted at the behest of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM has reportedly asked the agencies to submit their findings within 15 days.

Now, the question is if Big B or Aishwarya had nothing to do with the companies mentioned in these reports, why do their names appear in the Panama Papers? A clue to this can be found in a detailed report that has been published in a prestigious UK newspaper about the workings of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm the Panama Papers are supposedly related to. The report provides the details of how the firm helped create shell companies for its super-rich clients. It comes up with startling and rather funny discoveries.

Apart from internationally known Indian icons like Big B and Aish, the Panamanian shell companies are also owned by the other world icons like Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh (a cartoon character), Daniel Radcliffe (the British Actor who played Harry Potter in the most successful film franchise ever), and Isaac Asimov (the well-known author of science fiction novels and stories who died in 1999). It's obvious that the iconic names were used to create fictitious entities in order to hide real identities either by Mossack Fonseca or by its clients. It's quite possible that someone used the names of Big B and Aishwarya in the same way the names like Harry Potter or Isaac Asimov were used and the Bachchans actually had no clue of it.

(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)


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