Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan has written a lengthy blog to express his anguish over being hounded post his name featuring in Panama Paper leak. The 75-year-old actor wished to be left alone at this stage of his life.
Bachchan wrote, “Tomorrow there could be more and the process of cooperation shall continue…”
On Monday, the Indian Express newspaper reported that the actor was one of the Indians figuring in the fresh ‘Paradise Papers’ leak, an investigation into offshore and banking assets carried out by the newspaper with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The actor’s post began as a response to a BMC notice sent to him for alleged “illegal construction” on his property.
“At this age and time of my life, I seek peace and freedom from prominence… To be left to lead the last few years of my life with and within myself… I do not seek epithets, I abhor them… I do not seek headlines, I do not deserve them… I do not seek acknowledgement, I am not qualified for it,” Amitabh posted on his blog on Sunday.
On Panama Paper leak, he wrote, “In recent months I find my name appear again in the leaks of Panama, as produced by the Indian Express .. the paper has asked for reactions, for responses, for justification or not, for replies to their investigative queries.”
The actor said two “instant replies” were given out by him of “denial and misuse of name” but the questions continued.
“Immediately after this, the system took over and since its revelation in the Express, has summoned me… at least 6 summons have been served to us and continue to come…
“Each one of them have been diligently, dutifully and duly replied to… personal appearances have been ordered, and we have made them at the varied different Agency Offices, both in Mumbai and in Delhi, both from Tax and Enforcement Departments and of their respective Intelligence Wings,” Bachchan said.
Here’s Bachchan’s full blog’
There is a face to devotion … millions pay homage to belief .. at the Juhu beach Mumbai, recently for Chatt Pooja, prayers and thanks givings to the Sun were offered .. for life and its continuity ..
Devotion and belief .. in the same sphere, yet presenting, at times, different spheres .. I am devoted, yet whether there is belief is debatable .. or at best attempted for an understanding .. when millions express belief, it becomes difficult to not acknowledge devotion .. or vice versa ..
I could be devoted in my belief that I am right .. and could get challenged for it .. as would many in moments of great collective presence .. but mass force challenges often the strength of the right .. it may eventually disprove itself …. but its presence is felt and heard ..
There is outrage among some of the Ef on the media allegations recently against me on the issue of ‘illegal constructions’ , through notices served to me by the Municipal Corporation the BMC ..
It is another matter that the mentioned ‘notices’ have yet to be seen or served to me .. but I guess in time it shall come .. media is always privileged to have information before it reaches concerned issues or persons .. they are the 4th Estate after all ; no mean achievement .. and they reproduce, they post, they are deliverers, the postman with the mail .. it could contain bad or good .. the postman is not to blame ..!!
And as is the ethics of media, they always check a story before it gets published .. so they sent enquiries to me, through various sources .. the PR agency, the TV channels through direct connects etc.,
At times it gets ignored responses .. at times it becomes imperative to provide an answer .. allegations that linger, often embrace belief .. yes belief .. the other ‘belief’ that has been mentioned at the beginning of this missive .. and so one does the right norm and respond ..
Media today is not as restricted as the earlier days .. the morning news paper is read the night before on the internet .. headlines make prominence by social media inputs at varying degrees of timings .. so when the ethics of the media enquires, at times you respond ..
For me it was thus :
Mr. Ameet Naik, attorney for Mr. Bachchan says “Our Client has purchased a property in Oberoi Seven from M/s. Oberoi Realty Limited, vide Agreement dated 29th October 2012, registered before the Sub Registrar of Assurances on 2nd November, 2012. The property was purchased as a bare shell and Our Client has neither put any brick nor taken out any brick from the said property, hence the question of illegal construction does not arise.
Further, Our Client is informed that the plans submitted by some other members of the society in respect of the repairs carried out by them have been approved by MCGM”
Electronic is quicker and faster than print so it puts it out instantly .. tomorrow’s papers may carry the news or not .. it is their discretion ..
Some media on reading my response comment happily at the speed of my response, as opposed to some others .. I cannot be judgemental about the others .. I speak for myself .. if there is accusation, at times, I would prefer to correct the manner .. at times it is prudent to remain quiet .. the point is, does the issue gets resolved by response to media or not .. on matters such as the one in question it shall be the Agency, the System that shall resolve it .. not the media .. media shall inform, shall question much like the agencies, but beyond that there is a wall .. there is no wall at the Homes of the Agency or of the System, for they have the Law and the Rules at their behest .. they can and through legal procedure indict you if wrong is found .. not the media ..
So leave them, the Media alone .. let the process take over .. discover, question, remark, assess and take action .. as duty bound citizens we shall obey ..
OR .. if you have reason to counter or challenge the System, the rights of a citizen in our Country and Constitution allows you to do so ..
End of story ..
There were allegations against my family and me in the Bofors Scandal .. for years we were grilled, declared traitors, abused and humiliated by the hour for several years .. when it became unbearable, we moved Court in the United Kingdom – for the requirement of speedy Justice .. we moved against a UK paper and won ..
BUT surprisingly those that accused us for years, never did come to the Courts of Justice to verify or justify their allegation .. moving Court was an open invitation to them that sought our necks, to come to an invited open forum and claim their allegation .. !! None came .. !
Almost 25 years later .. one of the chief prosecutors of the Country that was involved in the matter, stated through a public platform that our names were asked to be planted in the scandal !! Planted ..???!!!!
When the media carried the news here in India, the press during one of its interactions with me asked me what I was going to do about it .. whether I would seek information on who did it, or seek retribution .. !!!
WHAT RETRIBUTION AND INFORMATION WILL I SEEK ..? WILL IT TAKE AWAY THE YEARS OF SUFFERING AND MENTAL TORTURE THAT WE WENT THROUGH .. !!?? WILL IT CURE .. WILL IT REST .. ??
NO IT WILL NOT .. so I told them, the media, I do not wish to make any comment on it .. the matter is over for me .. !
In recent months I find my name appear again in the leaks of Panama, as produced by the Indian Express .. the paper has asked for reactions, for responses, for justification or not, for replies to their investigative queries ..
Two instant replies were given out by us .. of denial and misuse of name .. they were printed .. but the questions continued ..
Immediately after this, the System took over and since its revelation in the Express, has Summoned me .. at least 6 Summons have been served to us and continue to come .. EACH one of them have been diligently, dutifully and duly replied to .. personal appearances have been ordered, and we have made them at the varied different Agency Offices, both in Mumbai and in Delhi, both from Tax and Enforcement Departments and of their respective Intelligence Wings .. they seek more information each time and we provide them .. for some we seek time because the queries asked, refer to matters that are more than almost 25 years old .. it takes a while to dig out old files and to compile all that they want .. the fullest cooperation has been extended at all hours as dutiful citizens .. and even after, if there is any more query that needs to be addressed, we shall comply ..
It is the norm ..
Tomorrow there could be more .. and the process of our cooperation shall continue .. it is the norm .. it is the Law of the land .. it shall be abided by ..
Law does not entertain bias or favour .. it is stark and precise and offers judgement .. a judgement we respect and adhere to and obey .. it is our Constitutional obligation ..
We are devoted and extend belief to it .. as must we all should ..
BUT in conclusion :
at this age and time of my life I seek peace and freedom from prominence .. to be left to lead the last few years of my life with and within myself .. I do not seek epithets, I abhor them .. I do not seek headlines, I do not deserve them .. I do not seek acknowledgement, I am not qualified for it ..
Many years ago I had come across a Jewish joke :
A Jew, passes away and goes to Heaven, knocks on the door of the LORD, and having suffered the ostracised life that the community has, asks the LORD :
“ Lord ! Is it true that we are the ‘chosen’ people ..?”
The LORD looked benevolently at the Jew and in a most gentle voice replied :
“Yes my son .. you are the chosen people ..”
And the Jew replied :
“ Dear LORD .. would you mind choosing someone else for a change .. coz’ we’ve had enough !!”
I OFTEN WISH THAT FOR MYSELF ..