I-T Department claims to have proof against Kashyap, Pannu
The Income Tax Department has unearthed irregularities amounting to Rs. 650 crore after it conducted raids at two film production companies, two talent management companies, and properties of a leading actress. Without taking names, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said it has evidence of tax evasion. Properties of actress Taapsee Pannu, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, and others were raided Wednesday onwards. Here's more.
CBDT's spokesperson didn't mention Kashyap or Pannu
On the development, Surabhi Ahluwalia, official spokesperson of the CBDT said, "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 a discrepancy of around Rs. 300 crore." Ahluwalia added that the I-T Department also has evidence confirming manipulation.
Evidence of manipulation found, matter being investigated: Ahluwalia
"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 further investigated," Ahluwalia added.
Raids were conducted at properties linked to Phantom Films
The department also claims to have found "evidence of cash receipts by the leading actress amounting to Rs. 5 crore." Apart from Kashyap and Pannu, the raids were conducted at the properties of Vikas Bahl, Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane, and people related to now-dissolved Phantom Films. Mantena's talent management company, Kwan, is also under scrutiny. Exceed Entertainment is also facing probe.
What is Phantom Films?
Phantom Films was established by Kashyap, Motwane, Mantena, and Bahl in 2011 but was dissolved in 2018 after sexual harassment charges were leveled against Bahl. In March 2015, Reliance Entertainment had bought a 50% stake in the firm. Phantom Films has now become a joint venture having Mantena's new firm Mad Man Ventures and Reliance Entertainment as constituents with both parties holding 50%.
Bollywood was divided over the I-T raids
Amidst the questioning and the raids, Swara Bhasker and filmmaker Anubhav Sinha took to Twitter to extend support to Pannu and Kashyap. Meanwhile, Kangana Ranaut called it 'karma' pointing toward the multiple #MeToo accusations leveled against the members of Phantom and Kwan, most prominent one being against Bahl by a former employee. It's notable that Ranaut's path-breaking movie Queen was produced by Phantom.