On Wednesday, Thalapathy Vijay who was shooting for his upcoming film Master with director Lokesh Kangaraj and actor Vijay Sethupathi was summoned by the Income Tax officials. The shoot came to a halt after the officials took the actor along with them.
The Income Tax department has now issued a press release stating that searches were conducted in the properties of 4 major players in the Tamil film industry on Wednesday. This included residences and offices of a prominent actor - Vijay, his distributor - Sundar Arumugam, Producer - AGS and financier - Anbu Chezhiyan. The IT officials have also found some unaccounted cash of up to Rs. 77 crores at financier Anbu Chezhiyan's properties. According to the I-T department, the common thread among all these entities was the success of a recent film (Bigil) which was a box office hit collecting around Rs. 300 crores.
Official press release by IT department.. pic.twitter.com/rByL9sbn6O
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The IT Department released an official statement regarding the raid. Talking about the actor, they wrote, “In the context of the issues of the prominent Actor, it is stated, that, his investment in immovable properties and remuneration received from the said Producer (AGS) for acting in the film is the subject matter of investigation in the present search. Searches in some of the premises are still continuing.”
As far as AGS is concerned, the department says, “The producer, who is also a part of the group searched, is into film production, distribution and film exhibiting Multiplexes and has produced several films. Analysis of the accounts available in the office premises is under process. Evidences of actual receipts and expenses booked and remuneration paid to Artists is under investigation.”
However, the IT Dept made significant recoveries from financier Anbu Chezhiyan. "The highlight of the search is the seizure of unaccounted cash of about Rs. 77 crores from hideouts and secret places located at Chennai and Madurai, purportedly belonging to the financier. Large number of property documents, Promissory notes, post dated cheques taken as collateral security were recovered during the search and have been seized," they wrote. "All documents in original, belonging to the distributor have been recovered from a hideout place, which was the house of his friend. Scrutiny of the evidence so unearthed is under progress," the department stated.
Anbu Chezhiyan is a well-known cinema financier, who is blamed of harassing his clients. In November 2017, he was booked for abetment of suicide in the death of Tamil producer Ashok Kumar.