Not Hosting Modi Govt Event, Says Amitabh Bachchan After Congress Attack

25/05/2016 5:16 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
GURGAON, INDIA - NOVEMBER 20: Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan during the launch of the TB free Haryana campaign at Medanta Hospital on November 20, 2015 in Gurgaon, India. The government will collaborate with Medanta-The Medicity for the ‘TB free Haryana’ campaign, which will be supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan will be the brand ambassador of the campaign. (Photo by Abhinav Saha/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Congress today launched a misguided missile against actor and cultural icon Amitabh Bachchan, questioning the government's decision of inviting him to host a show in the national capital on 28 May to highlight the Narendra Modi government's achievements in the last two years in power.

Bachchan, whose name has allegedly come up in a massive leak of tax documents of offshore accounts of individuals, however clarified that he was not hosting any event, but only doing a small segment on the government's Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme for women's empowerment.

The actor's son Abhishek Bachchan also hit back, saying his father is only part of a function where he is talking about educating the girl child.

"It is not a political event. He is part of a function where he is talking about educating the girl child. That's not a political event," Abhishek told reporters.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had earlier told reporters that while the party had no objection to Bachchan, but it would send a "wrong signal to the agencies investigating the Panama Papers leaks".

"Would it be fair? ....What message it would send to investigating agencies going into siphoning of funds abroad illegally? What signal are you sending when they see the Prime Minister sharing the dais with Bachchan,?" Surjewala had said.

Bachchan, who has steadfastly denied any role in the Panama leaks and maintained that his name was misused, was later quoted as said that it would be actor R. Madhavan, and not him, who would host the event and that he is scheduled to anchor only a segment on 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao'.

The 72-year-old actor also told a news channel that his role in the government’s 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' campaign made sense since he was already the brand ambassador of the ‘Girl Child’ initiative by the United Nations.

The BJP came out in strong defence of the actor for his association with the event despite the ongoing probe against him in Panama papers expose. A host of BJP leaders, including union ministers, said the probe against Bachchan has nothing to do with the event linked with a social issue of protecting the girl child and attacked Congress for its "mental disability" in fuelling a row.

"See, practically, participation of Amitabh Bachchan and the investigation with regards to Panama Papers, certainly, it will not have any connectivity. Investigation will be done by an independent agency, they will take care of things," Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said.

Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said the megastar is only hosting a programme and he is not yet proven guilty by any court.

"You may have questions, but has he been labelled guilty for that. His name has come. Let the court of law take action.

If somebody is hosting a programme for celebrating our two years and he is not a criminal, he is a respected person of society. If his name has come, let the court of law take action," he said.

The Panama Papers -- based on an investigation by over 100 news organisations around the world -- is a global list revealing offshore links of over 500 Indians, including Amitabh. Amitabh has denied links with any of the offshore companies.

(With PTI inputs)

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