Bengaluru/Chennai: Around 30 teams of income tax (I-T) officials on Thursday carried out simultaneous raids across 27 locations in Bengaluru targeting actors and producers of recently released big-budget Kannada films.
The I-T department confirmed the raids on Kannada film producers Rockline Venkatesh, C.R. Manohar and Vijay Kiragandur. It also raided premises of actors Puneet RajKumar, Shivraj Kumar, Sudeep and Yash, among others. “Eight people were raided," said an I-T official, requesting anonymity. Around 180 officials were involved in the raids.
When contacted, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce spokesperson declined to comment on the raids.
Opposition parties have accused the Centre of misusing I-T and other government agencies to target opponents. The Centre has, however, justified the actions as a crackdown on money laundering.
Though the department did not make any official comment, officials speaking anonymously said that the raids were conducted after some of these producers invested unprecedented amounts of money to make Kannada films earlier this year that went onto become huge commercial successes.
The Yash starrer, KGF, one of the costliest films made in Kannada, is inching towards the ₹ 150 crore mark in global collections, according to trade analysts. The period drama was dubbed in several other languages as well, where the movie has beaten stiff competition from big Bollywood production houses starring superstars.
The department also conducted raids in Chennai where popular eateries and hotel chains were scanned. A total of 32 locations were searched, confirmed the IT department.
Residences and offices of the directors and owners of Saravana Bhavan, Hot Breads, Anjappar group and Grand Sweets came under the scanner over allegations of tax evasion.
Saravana Bhavan, which has been in business since 1981, is one of the most popular hotel chains and has outlets in 20 countries. While it has about 25 branches in India, more than 60 branches of its restaurant operate overseas.
Established in 1964, the Anjappar group has about 70 outlets in India and abroad.