Stars’ big bucks under IT scanner

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Nation, Current Affairs

Taxmen raid Sandalwood film fraternity.

Actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s residence in Sadashivnagar where income tax officials carried out a raid, in Bengaluru on Thursday (Photo: KPN)

Bengaluru: Filmmakers usually prefer shooting early in the morning for that perfect natural light. But, on Thursday morning, prominent sandalwood star heroes and producers had to face a different early morning scene when the Income Tax officials simultaneously raided 25 locations across the city.

IT officials, armed with search warrants and accompanied by goldsmiths came knocking on the doors of the  plush residences of Kannada superstars Shivarajkumar, his star brother Puneeth Rajkumar, Kichcha Sudeep, rising star Yash, and producers Vijay Kiragandur, Jayanna, Rockline Venkatesh and C.R. Manohar, who is also an MLC from JD(S). The search and seizure operations included the homes of their relatives and their many offices.    

According to sources, the tax sleuths from the Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation), Karnataka & Goa conducted simultaneous search and seizure operations at the premises of four leading Kannada film stars and three top producers in the City at their residences and official premises.

Among those searched for alleged unaccounted wealth and non disclosure of taxable income are Sudeep, Yash, Shivarajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar. Producers Vijay Kiragandhur (of the blockbuster film 'KGF'), C.R. ‘Manohar (of 'Villian' fame) and Rockline Venkatesh were also searched for reported income tax violations.

The raids began early morning at 25 locations in Bengaluru involving over 200 tax officials with support of the police to prevent any untoward incident. The search and seizure operations continued through the day and may spill over the next few days. There was no official confirmation on the extent of seizures from the search operations from the DGIT.

Entertainment and real estate industries have always attracted the attention of the Income Tax Department for alleged tax violations and benami transactions, but this is the first time that Kannada stars have been raided in this manner.