Found discrepancy, manipulation in income worth ₹650 crore, says I-T dept after raids on Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee Pannu
The income tax department said on Thursday that it found discrepancy and manipulation of income during the searches at various places linked to actor Tapsee Pannu, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now shuttered production house Phantom Films. There was also huge suppression of income compared to the actual box office collections, the IT department further said.
Giving details about the searches, the officials said that the production house staff was not able to explain discrepancy of around ₹300 crore.
The officials also said that they found evidence related to manipulation and under-valuation of share transactions of Phantom Films amongst the film directors and shareholders, having tax implication of about ₹350 crore. Evidence of cash receipts by the leading actress amounting to ₹5 crore has also been recovered, they further said.
The officials added that further investigation is on, adding that raids are still being carried out.
The searches, part of a tax evasion probe against Phantom Films, were carried out across 28 locations in Mumbai and Pune on Wednesday, according to government release. Properties linked with Reliance Entertainment group CEO Shibhasish Sarkar and some executives of celebrity and talent management companies KWAN and Exceed were also raided. During the search, seven bank lockers were found which have been placed under restraint, the release said.
The others searched include some Phantom Films production house employees, which was dissolved in 2018, director-producer Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Vikas Bahl and producer-distributor Madhu Mantena.
Both Pannu and Kashyap, who are shooting in Pune, were also questioned by the income tax officials. They are collaborating in the upcoming film "Dobaara".
The raids were slammed by opposition parties. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the raids are being carried out against those who are pro-farmers.
He used three popular Hindi idioms in his tweet - 'Ungliyon pe nachana', 'Bheegi billi banna' and 'Khisiyani billi khamba noche' - to say what he believes they mean in the current context.
Similar thoughts were expressed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik. His cabinet colleague and Congress leader Ashok Chavan said this is nothing new. "We have been seeing this as happening often. Those who put forth facts are being pressurised in this way so that they don't speak up," said the PWD minister.
But government ministers rejected allegations that the raids against Kashyap and Pannu were linked to their comments, which are seen at times critical of the BJP.
"This is too much. Probe agencies undertake investigations based on credible information and the matter later goes to courts as well," Union minister Prakash Javadekar said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Pannu's last tweet was on March 1, in which she strongly spoke about the Supreme Court asking a man accused of repeated rape whether he was willing to marry the woman. Kashyap, meanwhile, has been quiet on Twitter in recent time. He visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Shaheen Bagh during the anti-CAA protests last year.