The Income Tax (IT) Department continued its searches on entities connected with actor Taapsee Pannu and film-maker Anurag Kashyap as well as his partners linked to production house Phantom Films Pvt Ltd for the second day.
About 168 tax officials have been searching 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 tax agency has allegedly found discrepancies of about Rs 650 crore.
“…Evidence of huge suppression of income by the leading film production house compared to the actual box office collections has been unearthed. The company officials have not been able to explain discrepancy of around Rs 300 crore. Evidence related to manipulation and under-valuation of share transactions of the production house amongst the film directors and shareholders, having tax implication of about Rs 350 crore has been found and is being further investigated,” said Surabhi Ahluwalia, official spokesperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), in a statement without naming any entities or individuals. The CBDT said the tax authority has found evidence of cash receipts by the actor amounting to Rs 5 crore.
“Apart from this, non-genuine/bogus expenditure to related concerns by the leading producers/director having tax implication of about Rs 20 crore has been detected. Similar findings have been made in the case of the leading actress also,” said the CBDT spokesperson.
Phone calls and texts to Kashyap did not elicit any response. Pannu, too, did not respond to calls.
The tax department has been searching the premises of current Phantom directors Madhu Mantena and Sibhashish Sarkar who is also the CEO of Reliance Entertainment; Kashyap’s associates and film directors Vikas Bahl and Vikramaditya Motwane. It has also searched senior executives of two talent management firms Kwan Entertainment and Exceed Entertainment.
The raids had elicited strong response from the Maharashtra state government which called it 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 party and the Centre and questioned policies, including the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and, most recently, the farm laws, on social media.
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