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Mersal row: I-T officials visit actor Vishal’s company after he slams BJP

A team of I-T officials visited the Vishal Film Factory’s office to verify the alleged non-deposit of tax deducted at source in the government’s account and spent a little over two hours at the venue.

regional movies Updated: Oct 24, 2017 10:26 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Vishal Film Factory,Vishal BJP H raja,Vishal office Tax officials
Actor Vishal owns a production company called Vishal Film Factory. He is also the president of Tamil Film Producers Council and general secretary of the South Indian Artistes’ Association.

Officials of the income tax department visited the film production company owned by actor and Tamil Nadu Film Producers’ Council president Vishal on Monday, a day after he hit out at senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja for watching a pirated version of Mersal amid a raging controversy over the film starring Vijay.

A team of the I-T department’s TDA wing visited the Vishal Film Factory’s office to verify the alleged non-deposit of tax deducted at source in the government’s account and spent a little over two hours at the venue.

“Watching a pirated film is not good for the film business and we have been fighting for curbing online downloading of films amounting to piracy,” Vishal, known for his anti-piracy campaigns, said after the search.

Reports said four income tax department officials visited the Vishal Film Factory’s office to probe charges that the production house 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 3pm, 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 the 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,” an unnamed official was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

The company was asked to appear before the department on Friday with its account books.

Vishal, who sought a public apology from Raja on Sunday for watching a pirated version of the film, said this was the first time that any team had come to assess his company at its premises.

Raja said during a recent television debate that he watched Mersal on the internet. He later denied the charges and said he had seen some clips of the movie that were shared on WhatsApp.

The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce has written to the Prime Minister’s Office against Raja for watching the pirated version of the Tamil language film. “Hope PMO will treat the complaint on merit and in a steadfast manner,” the chamber said in a release.

Vijay’s Diwali release Mersal has kicked up a row with the BJP taking exception to references on the central government’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) policy in the movie. BJP leaders, including Raja, a national secretary of the party, state president Tamilisai Soundarajan and Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, have demanded that the “incorrect” references must be deleted from the big-budget flick.

The BJP had on October 20 objected to what it termed as “untruths” regarding the GST in Mersal and wanted dialogues on the central taxation to be deleted.

Vijay’s film crossed the Rs 100 crore mark, according to trade analysts, even as the controversy grew bigger with the opposition and film fraternity attacking the saffron party and its alleged efforts to communalise the situation.

Vijay’s father SA Chandrashekhar told reporters his son’s reaction about the what is happening in the country found an expression in Mersal.

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First Published: Oct 24, 2017 10:19 IST