The Indian Income Tax Department on Wednesday raided over 30 properties of production houses and event management companies linked with actress Taapsee Pannu, director Anurag Kashyap, producer-director Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Behl and Madhu Mantena Varma. These properties are spread across Maharashtra and have been operating at Mumbai, Pune, etc. According to the reports, the Income Tax Department conducted searches over tax evasion allegations.  

An Income Tax Department official spoke with an eminent news agency and said, “There have been instances of tax evasion. The movies produced by the production house have been superhit, but the profits and account statements of the company are showing disproportionately low income.” 

The official also added that the searches carried by the department were not against the people, but against the entities, they have a stake in. “The searches are not against the individuals but against the entities where they hold a share or are directors,” said the Income Tax Department official. 

Premises of the production house Phantom Films, which was partly owned by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, was the first place where the raid occurred in the morning. Earlier this year, producer Madhu Mantena bought the cumulated shares of filmmakers Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl and Anurag Kashyap in the Phantom Films. 

The production house was founded by Mantena, Bahl, Kashyap and Motwane in 2011. In 2015, 50% of the company was acquired by Reliance Entertainment. Under Phantom Films’ banner, several critically acclaimed films were produced which included Lootera, Queen, Masaan, Udta Punjab, Trapped, etc. However, the filmmakers decided to stop working together after Vikas Bahl was alleged of sexual assault. 

After the development of Mantena buying shares of Kashyap, Motwane and Bahl, the production house will be operated as a joint venture between the company and Bahl’s own Mad Man Ventures and Reliance Entertainment.  

As the news of Kashyap, Pannu and Motwane’s properties being raided broke, several Maharashtra-based ministers condemned the searches. Nawab Malik, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister said, “The way in which raids were conducted in the homes and offices of Anurag Kashyap and Tapasee Pannu, this is definitely the usage of Enforcement Directorate or the Income Tax against those who take a stand against the government or its policies. Anurag Kashyap and Tapasee Pannu have raised their voice against the Modi government’s policies. This action is an attempt to suppress their voices.” 

It should be noted that Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu both have been outspoken critics of the current BJP government and have raised their voices against several issues. Recently, Pannu came into the limelight when she criticized other Indian celebrities who stood in solidarity with the government. 

Recently, world-renowned singer Rihana, along with environmental activist Greta Thunberg, tweeted about the ongoing farmer’s protest. Their tweets received pushback from Indian celebrities and sportsperson who tweeted a similar-worded tweet which said, “External forces can be spectators but not participants.” 

It was Pannu who called these celebrities out and quipped saying it’s better to strengthen one’s value system rather if it’s rattled by one tweet.   

The actress recently took a jibe at the Indian Chief Justice who asked a rape-survivor whether she would like to marry the perpetrator.  

On the other hand, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has raised his voice time and time against the current regime of the BJP government as well. In 2019, the director came to the streets and condemned the violence against the protesters of the anti-Citizenship Act. In January 2020, he gave an interview to eminent journalist Rajdeep Sardesai where he blamed the current Modi government for dividing Indian people into patriots and traitors. Kashyap was also the talk of the B-town when he demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to show his political science degree.  

Anurag Kashyap also has been a supporter of farmers’ rights and has in the past retweeted relevant posts that are in the support of farmers’ rights in the ongoing farmers’ agitation.  

Meanwhile, Twitteratis came forward in raising their voices against the raids at Kashyap and Pannu’s properties. While some netizens shared memes, others raised concern and alleged how the raid was against Kashyap and Taapsee as they are against the current establishment.