The Income Tax Department on Thursday found irregularities worth crores of rupees in ongoing raids on actor Taapsee Pannu, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, and his partners linked to production house Phantom Films Pvt Ltd.
According to officials, the searches have so far found evidence of cash receipts amounting to Rs 5 crore by Pannu and Rs 300 crore income by Kashyap’s former production house. The probe agency also claimed to have found bogus expenditure of Kashyap having tax implication of about Rs 20 crore. The agency has allegedly found discrepancies of about Rs 650 crore.
The documents, WhatsApp chat logs, emails, and computer peripherals were seized from various locations.The tax offices have questioned Pannu and Kashyap who were shooting in Pune. So far, neither of them have responded to the charges.
About 168 tax officials have been carrying out searches across 28 locations in Mumbai and Pune in connection with the alleged tax evasion by firms connected to Kashyap, his former business partners, Pannu and two talent management firms Kwan Entertainment and Exceed Entertainment.
The premises of current Phantom directors Madhu Mantena and Sibhashish Sarkar, Kashyap’s associates and film directors Vikas Bahl and Vikramaditya Motwane, senior executives of two talent management firms Kwan Entertainment and Exceed Entertainment, have also been searched by the tax authorities.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) spokesperson Surabhi Ahluwalia said the evidence of huge suppression of income by the leading film production house compared to the actual box office collections has been found. The company officials have been unable to explain the discrepancy of around Rs 300 crore.
The Maharashtra state government has strongly reacted to the raids since Wednesday. They said it is an attempt by the Centre using agencies to intimidate those who spoke out against the BJP government. Both Kashyap and Pannu have been critical of the ruling government and have lent their voices to various causes including ongoing farmers’ protest, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Among the string of Opposition leaders, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has hit out at the government using three popular Hindi idioms and the hashtag “ModiRaidsProFarmers”.