The Income Tax Department on Tuesday knocked at the doors of popular producers in the Tamil film industry, including Anbu Chezhian, who is also a leading film financier. The sleuths searched the offices and residential properties of the producers.
“Properties belonging to eight producers were searched. Those under the radar include producer and distributor Kalaipuli S. Thanu, S.R. Prabhu of Dream Warrior Pictures and producer K.E. Gananvel Raja,” said a source in the Income Tax Department’s Investigation Wing. “Separate WhatsApp groups were formed among the taxmen for each producer,” another source said.
“Our teams are verifying Thanu’s accounts and books. We can give a detailed picture tomorrow [on Wednesday],” another official said. When asked whether there was any common link to these searches, the official said it was a “normal verification”.
In the case of Anbu Chezhian, who runs Gopuram Films and Productions and Gopuram Cinemas Private Limited, over 10 teams were deployed at his offices and residences. The teams first landed at the house of his brother, Azhagar, at Keeraithurai, Madurai, around 6.30 a.m. They also visited Anbu’s residence on Kamarajar Salai, Madurai. Police sources said his office on South Maasi Street also came under the scanner.
A Madurai city police officer said I-T Department officials neither informed the police about the search nor sought protection from them. Anbu’s properties in Chennai were also checked. It may be recalled that in 2020, the I-T Department seized unaccounted-for cash from various locations in Chennai and Madurai belonging to Anbu Chezhiyan.
S.R. Prabhu’s office at Teynampet and T. Nagar in Chennai were searched along with his other properties. In T. Nagar, Thanu’s offices were searched.
A senior officer who was at the house of one of the producers, said, “We found ₹13 crore in unaccounted-for cash. But we are yet to verify the documents that have been given by the assessee for the same.” The searches went on till late evening on Tuesday and will continue for the next two days.