The offices and residences of Bollywood celebrities Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu were raided by the Income Tax Department on Wednesday which revealed discrepancies worth crores of rupees. Here’s what happened:
1) On Wednesday, the premises of Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu were raided, among others. Madhu Mantena, who runs Kwan talent management agency, and co-founder of Phantom Films Vikas Bahl were also scrutinized.
2) Kashyap and Pannu were also questioned for several hours on Wednesday and their detailed statements were recorded. Following the search, the two were summoned for further questioning that went on throughout the night.
3) Cash receipts worth Rs. 5 crore is supposedly undeclared by Taapsee Pannu, has been recovered, said IT officials, though officials did not name the actress, only referring to her as the ‘leading actress’. A total of seven bank lockers across cities have been seized and held under restraint.
4) It is also suspected that bogus expenditure and fake bills may have been created for tax evasion with tax implications of about Rs. 20 crore in the cases of the producers and actors.
5) The IT Department is conducting raids on several others who are closely affiliated to the Phantom Films production house which was dissolved in 2018 following sexual harassment allegations against Vikas Bahl. Over 20 locations in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Delhi are being searched currently.
6) The IT Department has found that the suspects’ profits do not match their returns and stated that the investigation was based off evidence that they have already procured. Their film contracts, endorsement deals, and other documents are being combed through for further discrepancies.
7) Phantom Films is suspected to have evaded tax payment worth Rs. 600 crore on the income from a stake sale. Searches revealed alleged manipulations and undervaluation of share transactions.
8) Computer peripherals, documents, message logs etc. are being seized from their premises. Data from their phones is suspected to have been deleted after many people in the industry were questioned regarding possession and consumption of drugs following Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
9) Though it is unclear what prompted the raids, mainstream media is speculating that it could be due to the actors’ vocal and consistent criticism of the government and the ruling party. Similar sentiments were voiced by several opposition leaders.
10) Sources from the I-T Department say that the searches might go on for three more days due to the time-consuming task of backing up the digital evidence found.