Actor Taapsee Pannu, whose properties were raided by Income Tax officials earlier this week, on Saturday denied allegations of tax evasion, saying she neither owned a bungalow in Paris nor had cash receipts amounting to Rs 5 crore.
She said that the three days of “intense search” were primarily for three things. “1. The keys of the ‘alleged’ bungalow that I apparently own in Paris. Because summer holidays are around the corner,” she wrote on Twitter. “2. The ‘alleged’ receipt worth 5 crores to frame n [and] keep for future pitching coz [because] I’ve been refused that money before.”
Pannu also denied Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s claims that her house was raided in 2013 as well. “3. My memory of 2013 raid that happened with me according to our honourable finance minister,” the actor said.
She added a postscript – “not so sasti anymore”. She was referring to a comment by actor Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel, who had once said that Pannu was a “cheap rip off” of Ranaut.
Meanwhile, director Anurag Kashyap, who is also facing investigations on charges of tax evasion, shared a photo of him with Pannu as the two resumed shooting for his next film, Dobaara.
In a post on Instagram, Kashyap without mentioning the IT raids, shared the same photo and wrote, “with all our love to all the haters.”
The developments came two days after the Income Tax department claimed that it had found large illegal transactions and suppression of income, worth about Rs 650 crore, by the actor and director after conducting searches at properties linked to the Bollywood personalities in Mumbai and Pune.
About 168 tax officials have been searching 28 locations in the two cities in connection with the alleged tax evasion by firms connected to Kashyap, his former business partners, Pannu and two talent management firms – Kwan Entertainment and Exceed Entertainment. The IT officials had also searched the premises of production house Phantom Films, which was co-promoted by Kashyap and producers Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena.
Central Board of Direct Taxes spokesperson Surabhi Ahluwalia said that the agency recovered evidence of cash receipts by Pannu amounting to Rs 5 crore. The agency also claimed to have found bogus expenditure of Kashyap with tax implication of about Rs 20 crore. “Similar findings have been made in case of the leading actress also,” Ahluwalia said of Pannu.
Income Tax officials said that Phantom Films shareholders were also suspected to be involved in the alleged tax evasion. The production house is alleged to have carried out a stake sale and not pay income tax from the money generated from the same.
Pannu and Kashyap have both been vocal against the Narendra Modi government on various matters, most recently the farmer protests against the new agricultural laws. Opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, have often suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government misuses central agencies such as the Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation to target those who oppose government policies.