Megastar Amitabh Bachchan's nomination as the brand ambassador of Incredible India campaign looks uncertain after his name figured in the Panama papers, with the government deciding to "put on hold" the decision.
Bachchan, 73, and actress Priyanka Chopra were the frontrunners for the publicity of the campaign aimed at promoting India as a favourite tourist destination abroad after popular actor Aamir Khan ceased to be its brand ambassador following his intolerance remarks.
"Bachchan's name has been put on hold for the brand ambassador's role after his name appeared in Panama papers," a source close to the development said, adding "his name would be considered only if he comes clean on the issue."
However, Bachchan in a statement has clarified that he has not been "formally" approached for the task.
"There have been queries from the media regarding my being Brand Ambassador for 'Atulya Bharat' (Incredible India). I wish to state that I have not been formally approached for this position.
"The speculation of the media regarding its discontinuance is, therefore, not relevant as far as I am concerned," Bachchan, 73, said in a statement.
Bachchan's name figured among 500 Indian individuals and entities who owned firms and accounts in offshore tax havens in the leaked documents of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Soon after the leaked documents were published, Bachchan had said his name might have been "misused".
"I do not know any of the companies referred to by Indian Express -- Sea Bulk Shipping Company Ltd, Lady Shipping Ltd, Treasure Shipping Ltd, and Tramp Shipping Ltd. I have never been a director of any of the above stated companies. It is possible that my name has been misused," he had said in a statement.
Bachchan was said to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first choice as brand ambassador of the mega publicity campaign. The superstar became the brand ambassador for Gujarat Tourism when Modi was the state's chief minister.
Bachchan is also the ambassador for Maharashtra's 'Save Tiger' project.
Though it was believed that Aamir Khan was eased out of the Incredible India campaign in January after being associated with it for several years for his remarks on intolerance, the Tourism Ministry had clarified that he was not hired by the government for it and that the contract with the advertising agency which engaged him had expired.