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I-T searches in TN unearths Rs 300 cr 'evasion'; actor Vijay under scanner

Chennai: Income Tax searches in premises linked to various Tamil film personalities in Tamil Nadu has led to 'concealment' of income estimated to be in excess of Rs 300 crore and top actor Vijay's investments and remuneration are being probed, the department said on Thursday. A film production house and the residence of Vijay were among the premises that came under the searches since Wednesday. The actor's investment in immovable properties and remuneration from the production firm for his recent movie ('Bigil') is the "subject matter of investigation in the present search," the department said.

State Congress chief K S Alagiri rallied behind Vijay and said there were chances that the searches could be aimed at "intimidating" the actor.

He recalled that Vijay had courted controversy over certain dialgues against the GST and demonetisation in his film "Mersal" in 2017 with the BJP leaders opposing it.

Though the department did not name anyone who came under its scanner, sources said the production house was AGS Entertainment that produced 'Bigil,' last year and the financier was Madurai-based Anbu Chezhian. The raids in as many as 38 premises in different parts of the state led to concealment of income which is likely to exceed Rs 300 crore, the I-T department said in a release here adding searches in some of these premises were still continuing.

"The common thread among all these entities (film producer, actor, distributor and financier) was the success of a recent film which was a box office hit collecting around Rs 300 crore," the release said.

The department termed the seizure of unaccounted cash of about Rs 77 crore from "hideouts and secret places located at Chennai and Madurai, purportedly belonging to the financier," as the "highlight," of the search. Large number of property documents, promissory notes, post-dated cheques taken as collateral security were recovered during the search and these have been seized.

"As per evidence detected during the search, it is estimated that the concealment in this case is likely to exceed Rs 300 crore." The distributor, who is a part of the group that was searched, is also a builder. All documents in original, belonging to the distributor have been recovered from a hideout, which was the house of his friend, the I T release said.

"Scrutiny of evidence unearthed is under progress," the release added.

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