The searches at the premises of filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now shuttered production house Phantom Films, and Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu by the Income Tax (IT) department have landed them in trouble as the tax agency has found “discrepancy and manipulation of income” running into crores. The Income Tax department carried out the searches at 28 locations in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune on premises linked to Phantom Films, Kashyap, Pannu, Vikas Bahl, Madhu Mantena and some executives of talent management company KWAN and also another talent management company.
In a statement, the IT department said that it was carrying out search and survey operations which started on March 3 on two leading film production companies, a leading actress and two talent management companies in Mumbai.
It said that 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 said.
“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 discrepancy of around Rs 300 crore,” it said.
The IT department informed 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.
Commenting on the searches at the premises of Pannu, the IT department said, “Evidence of cash receipts by the leading actress amounting to Rs 5 crore has been recovered. Further investigation is going on.”
It said that apart from this, non-genuine or bogus expenditure to related concerns by the leading producers or director having tax implication of about Rs 20 crore has been detected.
“Similar findings have been made in the case of the leading actress also,” it said.
The IT department also said that at the office premises of the two talent management companies, a huge amount of digital data has been seized in the form of emails, whatsapp chats, hard disk etc which are under investigation.
“During the search, 7 bank lockers have been found which have been placed under restraint,” it 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 have been vocal on social media platforms and have also raised concerns over the farmers’ protest, which has been going on on the borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three new farm laws.