Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu
Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu Image Credit: GN Archives

The Income Tax (IT) department has found “discrepancy and manipulation of income” after searches at the premises of filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now shuttered production house Phantom Films, and Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu.

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 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.

“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 Rs300 crore [Rs3 billion, Rs150 million],” it said.

The IT department informed that evidence related to manipulation and undervaluation of share transactions of the production house among the film directors and shareholders, having tax implication of about Rs3.5 billion 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 Rs5 crore [Rs50 million] 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 Rs200 million 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 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 the borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three new farm laws.