Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wears a creation for the L'Oreal Spring-Summer 2022 ready-to-wear fashion show presented in Paris, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Image Credit: AP

Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Delhi on December 20 in connection with the 2016 'Panama Papers.' tax leak, claimed sources. The daughter in law of Amitabh Bacchan was earlier summoned by the ED.

According to ANI, the ED has registered a money-laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in the matter. It is unclear whether the former Miss World would testify in front of the investigators. The investigation is considered to be a pan-India affair involving numerous agencies.

The 'Guru' star was previously summoned for questioning, but the high-profile talent had requested for additional time on two seperate occasions. The actress is yet to issue a formal statement on the latest development.

A top ED official confirmed to news agency IANS that she was summoned to join the probe by today. "We summoned her for December 20. As of now we haven't got any reply from her side. The summon was sent to her Mumbai residence," said an ED official.

In 2016, this issue of celebrities stashing unaccounted for wealth abroad grabbed news, and summons were issued to numerous actors. The ED had lodged a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) after the Panama Papers showed how companies were set up in offshore accounts to avoid taxes.

Amitabh Bachchan, a legendary actor and Rai Bachchan's father-in-law, and actor Ajay Devgn were summoned under Section 37 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

What are 'The Panama Papers'?

The Panama Papers pertain to leaked documents that point towards fraud and tax evasion by many individuals and corporate entities across the world. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's name featured in the list of 500 Indians who were named in the massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents exposing their secret offshore dealings.

"The Panama Papers" case is a sprawling investigation spanning millions of documents stolen and was leaked to the media in 2016, which involve allegations that the world's rich and powerful set up offshore accounts or shell companies to avoid taxes. Over 300 Indians were said to be part of the Panama Papers.