IT department raids Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, and Taapsee Pannu's residences
In what came as unexpected development for the film fraternity, the Income Tax department on Wednesday conducted raids at over 30 locations in Mumbai and Pune, including the premises of noted filmmaker and director Anurag Kashyap, actress Taapsee Pannu, and filmmaker Vikas Bahl.
An IT department source had confirmed it and said, “Searches are on at the premises of Pannu, Kashyap and Bahl in Mumbai and other locations.”
The source also said that multiple teams of the IT department were carrying out searches at the premises of the Phantom Films and former partner of Phantom Films, Madhu Mantena.
Phantom Films was established by Anurag Kashyap, director Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena, and the former head of UTV Spotboy, Vikas Bahl in 2011. The firm, however, was dissolved in 2018.
Other properties that are currently being raided include Shibhashish Sarkar (CEO of Reliance Entertainment), Afsar Zaidi (CEO of Exceed), and Vijay Subramaniam (CEO of Kwan). Kwan and Exceed Entertainment are well-known celebrity management agencies.
According to another IT department official, these searches are being carried out in connection with a “tax evasion” issue.
Commenting on the raids, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the agencies only go after those against whom they have credible information. “The matter later goes to court,” the minister was quoted as saying by media sources.
Kashyap, Bahl, and Pannu have always been outspoken critics of the government, especially with regard to civic, social and political issues. They recently raised concerns over the farmers’ protest, which has been underway at the borders of New Delhi since November 26 last year against the three farm laws.
Reacting to the news of the IT searches on the Bollywood personalities, Congress Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore said, “Why is (Union Finance Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman so predictable? It’s a sad story for the IT department, it has become so one-sided and political too.”
Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik was quoted as saying, “The way in which raids were conducted in the homes and offices of Anurag Kashyap and Tapasee Pannu, this is definitely the usage of the Enforcement Directorate or the Income Tax department against those who take a stand against the government or its policies. Anurag Kashyap and Tapasee Pannu have raised their voice against the Modi government’s policies. This action is an attempt to suppress their voices.”