The Income Tax Department’s investigation unit on 3 March conducted searches at premises linked to Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu and film director Anurag Kashyap in Mumbai.
The I-T department raids were underway at locations in Pune too. Searches are on at nearly 20 locations in Mumbai and Pune.
Searches are underway at properties of Shibhashish Sarkar (CEO Reliance Entertainment), Afsar Zaidi (CEO Exceed), Vijay Subramaniam (CEO Kwan). Exceed Entertainment and Kwan Entertainment are Mumbai’s popular celebrity management agencies.
Leftist observers are seeing a connection between the I-T raids and the general anti-government stand of Kashyap, Bahl and Taapsee on social media platforms. They became a part of the celebrities who breast-beat about rich farmers’ plight as the agri-businessmen from Punjab and Haryana picketed along the borders of the national capital since 26 November last year against three agriculture sector reforming laws.
Taapsee Pannu’s politics
Recently, Pannu had criticised the show of solidarity by the big stars towards the government in response to pop star Rihanna’s post drawing attention to the farmers’ agitation. The actor, who has been a vocal supporter of farmers’ protest, took a jibe at the government’s campaign and said one should focus on strengthening the system.
“If one tweet rattles your unity, one joke rattles your faith or one show rattles your religious belief, then it’s you who has to work on strengthening your value system not become propaganda teachers for others,” Pannu had said on social media last month.
Anurag Kashyap had been vocal about condemning the violence against anti-Citizenship Act protesters in 2019. Last year, he expressed support for actor Rhea Chakraborty in the Sushant Singh Rajput case and had slammed Bollywood actors for not speaking up enough on the case.
Kashyap’s dissolved production house
Anurag Kashyap, director Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena and Vikas Bahl had established Phantom Films as a film production and distribution company in 2011. They dissolved the company in October 2018 after a woman slapped Phantom Films co-founder Vikas Bahl with a charge of sexual harassment.
In March 2015, Reliance Entertainment procured 50% stakes of the company.
After a series of movies comprising both hits and misses, the company was dissolved in 2018 facing a sexual assault allegation on Vikas Bahl, brought by a former employee of Phantom.
In its seven years of operation, Phantom Films worked with several top Bollywood actors, directors, co-producers. Taapsee Pannu worked with Phantom Films in 2018’s Manmarziyaan.