On March 4, The Income Tax department (IT dept) conducted raid on properties linked to filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, actress Taapsee Pannu and others continued for the second day. The Income Tax department started carrying out raids on 22 locations on March 3 on the properties linked to Kashyap, Pannu, Vikas Bahl, filmmaker Madhu Mantena and others in Mumbai, Pune and other locations. The raids are in connection to the allegation of tax evasion by Kashyap’s Phantom Films that was dissolved in 2018.
As per the reports, properties linked to Shibhashish Sarkar (CEO of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment), Afsar Zaidi (CEO Exceed) and Vijay Subramaniam (CEO Kwan talent management agency) were also searched by the IT department.
Now, more details pertaining to the IT raid has come to light. Jitendra Sharma, journalist with Zee News shared the details of what the Income Tax Department has found evidence of during the raids.
The Income Tax Department has 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 the discrepancy of around Rs. 300 crore. 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”.
In this part, the Income Tax department has essentially said that a leading film production company, presumably Phantom Films, the company formed by Anurag Kashyap, Bahl, Mantena and Vikramaditya Motwane, has suppressed their income as compared to the actual box office collections. The Income Tax department has also said that the company has not been able to explain a discrepancy of Rs 300 crores.
The IT department made further startling revelations.
The IT Department during the raids found cash receipts amounting to Rs 5 crores from the ‘leading actress’. Since we know Taapsee Pannu was being raided, it stands to reason that the cash receipts have been recovered from Pannu.
Further, the IT Dept said that bogus expenditure to related concerns by the leading producers/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.
While the search is continuing at all premises, the IT department has seized 7 bank lockers.
Anurag Kashyap questioned during IT raid, name of KWAN emerges too
Times Now has reported that the IT Department has interrogated Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu for long hours on March 3. It is unclear if they will be interrogated today again.
As per reports, when Phantom Films was operational, several shell companies were floated. The funds were then parked in these companies. The I-T Department also suspect that Kashyap and other directors of Phantom films used the money for investing in properties and other assets. Taapsee’s role in the alleged tax evasion was also suspected.
Notably, Kwan Talent Management Agency‘s name has appeared in high profile cases in recent times. After the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in 2020, several aspects of the case were investigated. During the investigation, evidence of excessive usage of narcotics in Bollywood led to an investigation by NCB. In September 2020, the CEO of Kwan was summoned by Narcotics Control Bureau in connection to cases related to drug usage in Bollywood.
Madhu Mantena, who has been under IT scanner in current raids, was also summoned by NCB. Once Kwan’s name emerged in the news, its alleged dark side started to make headlines. Suchitra Krishnamoorti and Sharlyn Chopra made a series of allegations against the company. Actress Deepika Padukone’s NGO reportedly had a connection to Kwan. Anirban Das Blah, ex-owner of KWAN Entertainment, was associated with Deepika’s NGO. When his name first appeared in the “Me Too” movement in 2018, both KWAN and TLLLF issued a statement that they have removed Anirban from his respective positions in the organization.