I’m a law abiding citizen: Big B on tax evasion claims

Mumbai, April 9 (IANS) Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has responded to the allegations that he has used his star power to evade tax, saying that he is a “law abiding citizen”.

On Friday, a news report shared the 73-year-old actor’s “brush with the Income Tax Department right from 2009 and how his loans were paid off using offshore entities”.

In reaction to this, Amitabh said in a statement that the matter referred to in the article “is a matter that has been under investigation for the past six to seven years by the Income Tax and Enforcement Departments”.

“I have diligently responded to all the queries and notices sent by them. I am a law-abiding citizen of the country,” he added.

Amitabh also reiterated that he has no links with any of the offshore shipping companies in which he is supposed to be a director according to the leaked “Panama Papers”, which emerged earlier this week.

“I have not been a director on the board of the four companies as mentioned in an earlier report. I am happy that the government has instituted a thorough investigation on this issue, for, I myself, am keen to know how my name appears in connection with those four companies.”

After Amitabh’s name appeared in the “Panama Papers” leaks, the Congress has demanded the removal of the veteran actor as the brand ambassador of Maharashtra’s tiger preservation campaign.

To this, he said: “I have been reading demands for my removal from the brand ambassadorship of the Maharashtra tiger preservation campaign. This is the prerogative of the government of Maharashtra, which I shall humbly respect.”

“Nonetheless, I wish to state that whatever the decision, I shall continue to work towards the social causes that I am associated with — Tiger Preservation, Polio, Swachh Bharat, TB, Hepatitis B, Diabetes, Family Planning — in my individual personal capacity,” he added.

Bank Board Bureau’s first meeting discusses stressed assets

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The first meeting of the recently-formed Bank Board Bureau (BBB) met on Friday at the RBI headquarters in Mumbai and discussed issues of non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans, as well as strategies for recapitalising banks.

Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, who attended the meeting along with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, told reporters here that filling up of vacancies of directors and non-executive chairmen was also discussed at the meeting.

“Second, how to better recognise the stressed assets and if there are some hurdles, then how to solve them was discussed,” he said.

“How that (recapitalising banks) will happen, how the government and RBI will work with banks’ boards was discussed.

“Then, what the role of consolidation will be and how much capital it will require from the government also came up, and strategies around it also figured in the discussions,” he added.

Besides Bureau chairman, former comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) Vinod Rai, members — ICICI Bank’s former joint managing director H.N. Sinor, Bank of Baroda’s former CMD Anil K Khandelwal, rating agency Crisil’s ex-chief Rupa Kudwa and ex-officio members Ameising Luikham, secretary, department of Public enterprises, and R.Gandhi, deputy governor, RBI – were also present.

Taking the first step towards a holding company structure for state-run banks, the government, in August last, announced the setting up of the BBB to recommend appointment of directors in PSBs and advise on ways of raising funds and dealing with stressed assets.

The quantum of exposure of Indian scheduled banks in terms of gross non-productive assets, re-cast loans and write-offs was Rs.9.5 lakh crore as of September last year.

Spanish stock market rises 1.62 percent

Madrid, April 9 (IANS) The Spanish stock market index Ibex-35 rose 1.62 percent on Friday to close at 8,427.60 points, up from the 8,292.90 points from Thursday.

Share values were up two percent in the week as a whole with the risk premium climbing from the 133.6 points of Monday to the 143.1 points of Friday closing time, Xinhua reported.

Spain’s 10-year bond interest rate rose slightly from the 1.4 percent on Monday to the 1.5 percent of Friday.

On Friday’s session, OHL shares led rises climbing 5.79 percent, followed by Sacyr, Acerinox, ACS, Indra A and Banco Popular that rose 4.97 percent, 4.04 percent, 3.85 percent, 3.16 percent and 3.02 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, only Grifols shares fell on Friday session losing 0.25 percent.

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