By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 04, Mar 2021, 8:38 am IST | UPDATED: 04, Mar 2021, 8:38 am IST
NEW DELHI: In a massive action against the big Bollywood personalities, the Income Tax department on Wednesday carried out searches at the premises of noted film director Anurag Kashyap, actor Taapsee Pannu and filmmaker Vikas Bahl.
The raids are being conducted by the investigating agency at premises of film production company — Phantom Films — and people associated with it.
Film producer Madhu Mantena and director Vikas Bahl are also reportedly under the lens of the I-T.
According to a source, the searches are going in connection with some "tax evasion" matter.
The raids are being conducted at around 30 locations in Mumbai, Pune and other places. Some executives of celebrity and talent management company KWAN are also being raided.
Kashyap, Bahl and Pannu have been vocal on the social media platforms and have also raised their concern over the farmers' protest, which has been going at the borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three farm laws.
Tax department sources said some inter-linked transactions between the entities searched are under the scanner of the department. The raids, they added, are aimed at gathering more evidence to further probe tax evasion allegations against them.
Interestingly, Taapsee Pannu recently began shooting for director Anurag Kashyap's upcoming thriller ‘Dobaaraa’.
The film marked their third collaboration after ‘Manmarziyaan’ (2018) and ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ (2019).
Taapsee had shared a candid picture from the sets with Anurag last month and shared, “Coz some collaborations deserve to be repeated.... Ready to create more memories because we were running out of Manmarziyaan stories to tell”.
Responding to a question at a press conference in Delhi, Union minister Prakash Javadekar rejected allegations that the raids against Kashyap and Pannu were linked to their comments, which are seen at times critical of the BJP.
"This is too much," he said to the question. "Probe agencies undertake investigations based on credible information and the matter later goes to courts as well," he added.
In Maharashtra, the debate intensified with state minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik describing the searches as an attempt to suppress the voices of those who speak against the Narendra Modi-led government.
"Central agencies like ED, CBI, and Income Tax are being used to target those who take an anti-government stand and speak against the policies of the regime," the minister told reporters in Mumbai.
Pannu’s last tweet was on March 1, when she spoke on the Supreme Court asking a man accused of repeated rape whether he was willing to marry the woman. When the court was told he is already married, he was asked to seek regular bail from the concerned court. The 33-year-old actor, known for her films “Pink", “Thappad" and “Badla", put out a strong worded post on the matter. Kashyap, who had visited JNU and Shaheen Bagh during the anti-CAA protests last year and is known to be equally outspoken on a range of issues, has been quiet on Twitter in recent times except for occasionally retweeting others.
'IT raids on Kashyap, Pannu bid to curb voices of dissent'
Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik has said the I-T raids against Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu are an attempt to suppress the voices of those who speak against the Narendra Modi-led government.
"Central agencies like ED, CBI, and Income Tax are being used to target those who take an anti-government stand and speak against the policies of the regime," the minister said while speaking to reporters outside Vidhan Bhavan in the south Mumbai.
"The premises of Anurag Kashyap and Pannu have been raided. Both were raising their voices against the Modi government."
"This action has been carried out to suppress their voices," said Malik, who is also the chief spokesperson of Sharad Pawar-led NCP.
About Phantom Films
Founded in 2011, Phantom Films produced films such as "Lootera", "Queen", "Ugly", "NH 10", "Masaan" and "Udta Punjab".
Phantom Films was dissolved in October 2018 after sexual harassment charges were levied on Phantom Films' co-founder Vikas Bahl.
Kashyap later launched a new production company called Good Bad Films while Motwane launched Andolan Films.
The searches against Mantena are also being carried out in the context of his links with KWAN, of which he was a co-promoter.
Additionally, searches were on at locations associated with film producer Vikas Bahl and production and distribution company Phantom Films,reports.