Panama shadow over Aishwarya, Ajay Devgn praise of demonetisation?
Among the many who were very eager to shower praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation were film stars Ajay Devgn and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. But there’s more to it than what meets the eye.
Even though his support led him to ire of social media frenzies, Devgn had stood in support of the move, calling it a trivial inconvenience in national interest. He said, “You really need guts to take a step like this; hats off as this will be beneficial in the long run.”
As soon as Modi made the announcement on November 8 that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will cease to be legal tender from midnight, Devgn was one of the first Bollywood stars who applauded the decision on twitter.
His tweet, which tagged Modi, read, “100 sonaar ki, 1 lohaar ki. Masterstroke.”
100 सोनार की, 1 लोहार की।
— Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) November 8, 2016
Similarly, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who is usually reserved in her comments on any controversial political situations, praised Prime Minister Modi in an interview with NDTV.
Aishwarya said, “As a citizen, honestly I will say congratulations Mr Prime Minister. You have gone ahead with a very strong move for your larger plan to wipe out corruption in our country and that’s the larger overview we as a country need to recognise. Change is not always comfortable, everyone will find their way to embrace it if they focus on the larger picture.”
But these two very same actors star in the Panama papers leak. The Panama Papers were a set of 11.5 million confidential documents which leaked detailed information of more than 214,000 offshore companies listed by Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, including the identities of shareholders and directors of the companies.
The reported secret list contained about 500 prominent Indians, also including Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Ajay Devgn among other politicians and businessmen. Even though the Bachchans rubbished the connection with any such firm and Aishwarya’s legal adviser called the investigation false, Devgn told a newspaper that, “This company was set up with RBI guidelines for overseas direct investment route. Proper disclosures have been made by my family in the tax returns as required by law.”
The Centre, which could investigate the firms listed in the Panama Papers, is not doing so despite its stated objective of eliminating black money being the major reason for initiating the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Economists have said that the majority of black money is in offshore businesses and accounts and gold, and not as money hoarded in homes under mattresses or elsewhere.
The question that is waiting is: Are Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Ajay Devgn willing to be the government’s demonetisation ambassadors in exchange of the Government ignoring their Panama Papers involvement?