Income-Tax Department conducts searches on Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee and others

Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu  

The Income-Tax Department on Wednesday conducted searches on at least 30 locations linked to filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, producer Vikas Bahl, producer-distributor Madhu Mantena and actor Taapsee Pannu in Mumbai and Pune.

The action, according to an agency official, was part of a tax evasion probe against Phantom Films launched by Mr. Kashyap but dissolved in 2018. Mr. Bahl and Mr. Mantena are also the co-promoters of Phantom Films.

It is learnt that Mr. Kashyap and Ms. Pannu were in Pune at the time of the searches. The I-T Department is also likely to contact certain auditors for cross-checking details. Sources said some inter-linked transactions between the entities searched were under the scanner of the Department and the raids were aimed at gathering more evidence into allegations of tax evasion.

‘Suppressing dissent’

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that the raids are an attempt to suppress voices of dissent against the Central government.

“Central agencies are being used to take action against those who take an anti-government stand and speak against its policies, be it ED (Enforcement Directorate), CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) or I-T (Income-Tax). Both Kashyap and Pannu have voiced their opposition to certain government policies in the past. It is no coincidence that only they have been raided,” said Nawab Malik, Maharashtra’s Minority Affairs Minister and Mumbai unit president of the NCP.

Maharashtra Congress president and MLA Nana Patole, too, criticised the Centre for selectively targeting celebrities.

“We have seen in many instances that those who speak against the government are subjected to action by Central agencies. The government thinks that such tactics will scare people. We will not let such things to happen in a democracy,” said Mr. Patole.

Maharashtra’s PWD Minister Ashok Chavan told reporters, “This is not new. We have been seeing this happening often. Those who put forth facts are being pressurised in this way so that they don’t speak up.”

(With inputs from PTI, and Alok Deshpande in Mumbai)

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 3:22:42 AM |

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