Mersal effect? Actor Vishal gets I-T knock after he slams BJP

According to a senior I-T official, the search was conducted by four officials to probe charges that the production house, Vishal Film Factory, had deducted tax at source of payment worth Rs 51 lakh made to various clients but allegedly failed to deposit the amount with the government.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: October 24, 2017 10:39 am
vishal it raid, mersal, mersal controversy, actor vishal, bjp, income tx, it dept, tamil nadu bjp, h raja, gst reference in tamil movie, indian express Vishal, who is president of the Tamil Film Producers Council and general secretary of the actors association, launched his production company in 2013.

A team of Income Tax officials conducted a search at a film production company in Chennai owned by Tamil actor Vishal on Monday, a day after he hit out at state BJP leader H Raja for allegedly watching a pirated version of the movie Mersal. Raja and other Tamil Nadu BJP leaders had slammed Mersal, starring Tamil superstar Vijay, for what they described as “false criticism” of central government initiatives such as GST and Digital India.

According to a senior I-T official, the search was conducted by four officials to probe charges that the production house, Vishal Film Factory, had deducted tax at source of payment worth Rs 51 lakh made to various clients but allegedly failed to deposit the amount with the government. “When our team visited his office address after 3 pm, Vishal was not present. The inquiry continued for about three hours as the books of accounts were not readily available. Vishal spoke to our officers over phone and agreed that he would make the payment in two instalments. He has been served summons to appear before the I-T department on Friday,” said the official.

Vishal, who is president of the Tamil Film Producers Council and general secretary of the actors association, launched his production company in 2013. Official sources said the tax issue was linked to payments made to clients, including artists, and crew who worked for Vishal Film Factory.

While Vishal’s office and official sources initially indicated that the search was conducted by the Goods and Services Tax intelligence wing, they later clarified that the officials were from the Income-Tax department.

The timing of the searches sparked intense speculation in Tamil movie circles after Vishal criticised Raja following the BJP leader’s remarks that he had watched portions of Mersal online. Known for his anti-piracy campaigns, Vishal sought a public apology from Raja on Sunday. “A national leader of a national party has just confessed to watching a newly released film not in the theatre, but illegally. Being a leader who is known by the public, how can you support piracy without any shame?” Vishal said. But Raja denied the charges and claimed that he had watched some clips of the movie that were shared on WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce (SIFCC) said that it has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union I&B Minister Smriti Irani, seeking action against Raja for allegedly watching ‘Mersal’ online. SIFCI is the apex body of studio owners, producers, distributors and exhibitors from all the southern states.

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  1. Sushil Rajdev
    Oct 25, 2017 at 4:18 pm
    All raids are only political while true defaulters are not touched .
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      Sanjay
      Oct 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm
      Question, WHY SHOULDN'T I-T UNDER BJP RAID VIJAY? WHY NOT! remember Amitabh Bachchan being harassed on a stretcher, made to sign a cheque, even as he was wheeled away for an operation? Couldn't they wait, till the operation was done, and Amitabh Bachchan had recovered. No, they deliberately picked that moment!
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        Soundar
        Oct 24, 2017 at 7:50 pm
        When the censor board cleared the film how Tamilisai and Raja are making non sense ? It shows that these sychopants wanted to show more loyal than king at ude to Modi.
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        1. R
          Rohit Bansal
          Oct 24, 2017 at 12:50 pm
          hitler
          (18)(2)
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            paul
            Oct 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm
            The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, may come up with a ruling saying the citizen of India who has the duty to pay taxes also has the right not to pay taxes if there is no safe drinking water, proper electricity, good roads, transport, banking, medical facility, safety for women, quality education, road disciple, quick redresasal of court cases, no bribe police stations and govt officers, hotels with quality food, jobs for all, etc. A citizen who has the duty to pay taxes should be exempted to pay taxes if he or she is not satisfied with the governance. Soon an anti-tax movement uprising may come up in India.
            (30)(1)
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