Income Tax team escorts Vijay to Chennai from Cuddalore 'Master' shoot for an inquiry

Searches on at actor’s residence, premises of AGS Group

February 05, 2020 04:38 pm | Updated February 06, 2020 03:26 pm IST

Vijay in ‘Master’

Vijay in ‘Master’

Amid high drama, officials from the Income Tax (I-T) department’s Investigation Wing stormed NLC India Ltd’s campus in Cuddalore district and persuaded actor Vijay, who was shooting for his latest film Master  there, to return to Chennai to aid their investigation.

With a warrant issued under the provisions of Section 132 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the officials explained to the actor that he had to accompany them and cooperate in the ongoing search operation at his Chennai residence. Accompanied by the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax (Investigation), the actor then left the shoot during a break for lunch, officials told The Hindu  on Wednesday.

“We had information that he had taken a huge amount in cash towards salary for his recent film Bigil ,” said one of the officials. The film, touted as one of the highest grossing Tamil movies of 2019, was produced by AGS Entertainment.

Earlier in the day, special teams of the Investigation Wing, probing allegations of tax evasion, launched simultaneous searches at the premises of AGS Group, including AGS Cinemas, film financier Anbu Chezhiyan and the premises of Vijay in Chennai, Madurai and a few other places. The officials decided to question the actor after his wife pleaded ignorance about some documents, officials said. 

“In the case of Anbu, we have found unaccounted cash of ₹40 crore in Chennai and ₹17 crore in Madurai,” a senior I-T official said. During the searches at AGS, we have found some evidence and details pertaining to this, but they can be shared only after the raids are concluded,” a senior I-T official from the Investigation Wing said. He added that the raids were ongoing and details would be provided once the searches concluded.

When investigators, following Google Maps to the area where the shooting was taking place inside the NLC campus, reached a gate meant for locals, they were stopped by personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force and asked to go to the main gate. However, armed guards at the main gate denied them permission even though officials showed their identity cards.

The security personnel alerted the mines manager, who is the competent authority to issue permits. I-T officials then gave a request in writing, seeking access to the mining area without disclosing who they wanted to meet. They only revealed that access to the shooting site was required in connection with a case registered under the Income Tax Act.

After permission was granted, investigators drove to where Vijay was resting after lunch. They showed him the warrant and searched his caravan. For about 15 minutes the officials explained to the actor the necessity of him accompanying them to Chennai, after which he agreed, the officials added.

Permission for shooting  Master  was granted for 10 days in NLC’s mining area, commencing on February 4.

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