The income tax (I-T) department sleuths who raided the premises of three top Punjabi singers and two Punjabi film-producing firms on Wednesday seized unaccounted money to the tune of about Rs. 1 crore.
Revealing this, Harjit Singh Sohi, director, investigation, I-T, said even as the
search operations had ended on Thursday morning, the teams found that proper records of the finances involved in the production of films and music albums had not been maintained by these firms, except receipts issued in lieu of some expenses.
"During the raids, the teams seized several incriminating records pertaining to tax evasion, besides an unaccounted amount of about Rs. 1 crore. Undeclared fixed deposits to the tune of Rs. 65 lakh as well as several current bank accounts were also detected. Eighteen bank lockers and documents pertaining to business deals and property of the singers and firms were sealed," he said, adding that the firms could produce these records during subsequent investigations. The teams also seized records of stage shows by the singers.
As many as 22 teams of I-T officials had conducted simultaneous raids on 22 premises of singers and firms on Wednesday. The premises included residences of singers Diljit Dosanjh in Ludhiana, Gippy Grewal in SAS Nagar district and Miss Pooja in Rajpura (Patiala district), the latter's office in Jalandhar, offices of Batra films and Speed Records in Jalandhar and houses of owners and some directors of these firms. The raids, which started on Wednesday morning, came to an end on Thursday morning.
Sohi said comprehensive groundwork had been done before executing the raids. "The I-T sleuths have been gathering details about the business of these singers and firms for the past about four months. The exercise was conducted in view of the recent boom in the Punjabi entertainment industry, courtesy several hit films and successful music albums as well as stage shows by the singers," he added.
An IT officer said the industry's growth was not reflected in the I-T returns, especially of prominent players. He revealed that in one case, the I-T returns were just Rs. 5 lakh, which was too less a figure compared to the income of the person concerned.