Batting in support of director Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu, embroiled in a tax evasion case, Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana has published an editorial, stating that they are facing action for supporting the ‘farmers’ protests against the three farm laws passed by the government.
On Wednesday, the Income Tax Department launched raids at 22 locations linked to director Anurag Kashyap, producer Vikas Bahl, Producer Madhu Mantena and actress Taapsee Pannu in a tax evasion case. The following day, officials claimed that they found discrepancy and manipulation of income during the raids at various places linked to Pannu, Kashyap and his partners at the now-defunct production house, Phantom Films. According to the sources, I-T searches so far have found issues with Rs 5 crores in cash received by Ms Pannu and ₹ 300 crore income by Mr Kashyap’s former production house among other problems.
“Taapsee Pannu and Anurag Kashyap are known for putting across their opinions without any inhibitions. This brings us to the question if the remaining transactions in Bollywood are fair and transparent, and irregularities are only with Taapsee Pannu and Anurag Kashyap…Not only did they support the ‘farmers’ agitation but they also rallied behind people from across the world who extended their support to the protest. They are paying the price for it,” the Saamana editorial said.
Alluding that the raids were conducted with malafide intent, the editorial further asked why only Taapsee Pannu and Anurag Kashyap were targeted and not other celebrities in Bollywood. “Do the crores of rupees circulated in Bollywood come from Ganga?”
In what appeared as an attempt to whitewash the alleged wrongdoing rampant in Bollywood, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece further said that it is wrong to attack the film industry, especially when they are still reeling under the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
“Bollywood is in a big financial crisis because of the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Directing movies was called off, new productions were shelved and theatres were closed down. It is not appropriate to exact political revenge when a big business is in a financial crisis,” the article on Saamana further said.
The editorial cited the arrest of ‘activist’ Disha Ravi, stating that her arrest evoked a widespread condemnation of the Modi government from across the world.
It also said that a campaign was launched against actor Deepika Padukone after her visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in 2020. “Similar attacks were unleashed against Deepika Padukone after she visited the JNU to meet the students(to express solidarity with them). There was a silent agitation against her, her film was targeted,” the article said.
300 crores of undisclosed income, reveals IT Department, Taapsee Pannu received Rs 5 crores in cash
On Thursday, the Income Tax Department had 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”.
The IT Department hinted at Anurag Kashyap-owned Phantom Films that was dissolved in the aftermath of MeToo allegations against one of its shareholders. 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.