Manipulation in crores of rupees found, says IT department after raids on Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee Pannu’s residences
The Income Tax (IT) department’s raids at the premises of filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now-dissolved production house Phantom Films, and at Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu has resulted in the tax agency finding “discrepancy and manipulation of income” in crores of rupees.
The IT department carried out searches at 28 locations in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune at premises linked to Phantom Films, Kashyap, Pannu, Vikas Bahl, Madhu Mantena and executives of talent management companies Kwan and Exceed.
In a statement, the IT department said the searches are being carried out at Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad. “The group is mainly engaged in the business of production of motion pictures, web series, acting, direction and talent management of celebrities and other artists. A total of 28 premises are being covered in different locations which include residences and offices,” it read.
The IT department’s statement noted that following the search, they found discrepancies worth INR 300 crore that Phantom Films “has not been able to explain”.
“During the search, evidence of huge suppression of income by the leading film production house compared to the actual box office collections has been unearthed. The company officials have not been able to explain the discrepancy of around INR 300 crore,” it said.
The department added that evidence related to manipulation and under-valuation of share transactions of the production house amongst the film directors and shareholders, having tax implication of about Rs 350 crore has been found and is being investigated.
With regard to the searches at the premises of Pannu, the agency said cash receipts worth INR 5 crore have been found but did not elaborate on whether they were based on illegal transactions. “Evidence of cash receipts by the leading actress amounting to INR 5 crore has been recovered. Further investigation is going on.”
Apart from this, non-genuine or bogus expenditure to other related sources by the producers or director having tax implication of about INR 20 crore has been detected, according to the department.
“Similar findings have been made in the case of the leading actress also,” it noted.
Furthermore, the IT department said a huge amount of digital data has been seized in the form of emails, WhatsApp chats, hard disks at the office premises of the two talent management companies which are under investigation.
“During the search, 7 bank lockers have been found which have been placed under restraint,” the agency added.
According to IT department sources, Pannu and Kashyap were also questioned by the IT sleuths in Pune, where they were shooting a film.
Phantom Films was established by Kashyap, director Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena, and the former head of UTV Spotboy, Vikas Bahl, in 2011 before being dissolved in 2018.
Kashyap, Bahl, and Pannu are known for being open critics of the government and recently raised concerns over the farmers’ protest, which has been going on at the borders of New Delhi since November 26 last year against the three new farm laws.