Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu, whose premises was searched earlier this week by the Income Tax (IT) department among several others, on Saturday took a jibe at Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying ‘not so sasti’ (not so cheap) anymore.
The I-T on Wednesday carried out massive operations against several Bollywood personalities, including Pannu, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Madhu Mantena and Phantom Films.
The IT department searches were conducted at 28 locations in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad in connection with tax evasion running into crores.
Reacting to the IT department searches at her premises for the first time in three days, Pannu took to Twitter and in a series of tweets said, “Three days of intense search of three things primarily. One the keys of the ‘alleged’ bungalow that I apparently own in Paris. Because summer holidays are around the corner.”
In two other tweets she also took a jibe at Sitharaman and Ranaut and said, “Second, the ‘alleged’ receipt worth Rs 5 crore to frame and keep for future pitching because I have been refused that money before.
“And third My memory of 2013 raid that happened with me according to our (Union) Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman). P.S- ‘not so sasti’ anymore.”
She was referring to the Union Finance Minister’s remarks over the I-T department searches at the premises of Pannu and other filmmakers.
Sitharaman on Friday said that the same persons were raided in 2013 as well, but no issue was made out then as is being done now.
Earlier Ranaut had referred to Pannu as a sasti copy (cheap copy) of herself.
On Thursday, the IT department in a statement said that the tax agency has found “discrepancy and manipulation of income” running into crores.
The IT department sleuths also searched the premises of some executives of talent management company KWAN and also another talent management company.
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.
It said that the searches were carried out at Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad. “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 Rs 300 crore,” it said.
The IT department informed that evidence related to manipulation and under-valuation of share transactions of the production house among the film directors and shareholders, having tax implication of about Rs 350 crore 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 Rs 5 crore 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 Rs 20 crore 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 I-T department sources, Pannu and Kashyap were also questioned by the I-T sleuths in Pune, where they were shooting for 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 at the borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three new farm laws.