The Income Tax department, on Wednesday, March 3, conducted searches at properties of filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, actor Tapsee Pannu, and film producers Madhu Mantena and Vikas Bahl in Mumbai over alleged tax evasion.
Raids were also conducted at the premises linked to a talent agency and Phantom Films, a company co-promoted by Kashyap, Bahl and Mantena. The department raided properties of Shibhashish Sarkar, CEO of Reliance Entertainment, Afzar Zaidi, CEO, Exceed, Vijay Subramaniam, CEO Kwan - the two established celebrities management agencies.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, during a press briefing, said that the department probes someone based on the information they get and later case is heard in the court.
Several Maharashtra Cabinet ministers slammed the I-T searches and said the raids were the central government's retaliation to certain celebrities standing against the Centre or its policies.
"The way in which raids were conducted in the homes and offices of Anurag Kashyap and Tapasee Pannu, this is definitely the usage of the 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," NDTV quoted minister Nawab Malik as saying.
Kashyap and Pannu have lent their voice to various issues, including the ongoing farmers' protest.
In her recent tweet, Pannu had criticised the solidarity shown by various celebrities towards the government in response to pop star Rihanna's post on the farmers' protest. She said that one needed to focus on strengthening their value system if one tweet rattled one's belief.
Kashyap had been vocal during the 2019 Anti-Citizenship Act protests. Last year, he tweeted in support of actor Rhea Chakraborty in the Sushant Singh Rajput case and had condemned Bollywood for not speaking up enough.