Income Tax ride in in Kollywood, Includes Santhanam and other leading producers
The Income Tax (IT) sleuths conducted a series of raids on Kollywood big guns like top comedian Santhanam, leading producers RB Chowdhary, AM Ratnam and KE Gnanavelraja.

The Income Tax authorities conducted raids at the offices and residential premises of popular comedian Santhanam and film-makers such as A.M. Rathnam, Gnanavel Raja and R.B. Choudhary for alleged tax evasion. The sudden and unexpected raid on Rathnam’s premises on the eve of release of his Ajith-starrer Arrambam has shocked the industry folks.

The raids at 30 locations in Chennai and one in Hyderabad began at 8 am on Thursday and continued through the day.

I-T (investigation) additional director Murali Mohan confirmed the raids that began early on Thursday. The raids commenced early in the morning and continued till late in the evening. Santhanam’s residence opposite SIET Women’s College in Teynampet was searched by a team of IT authorities for many hours. They were searching for hidden and unaccounted money. Remember all the three producers raided have biggies releasing for Diwali or Pongal.

Separate search teams arrived at the residences of Santhanam, R.B. Choudhary and at the Studio Green office owned by K.E. Gnanavel Raja. Simultaneous raids were conducted at R.B. Chuodhary’s T. Nagar office, Gnanavel Raja’s Pondy Bazaar Office and at the residence of Rathnam at Saligramam. Over all, 23 premises owned by the quartet were raided, it is informed.

Santhanam said to be the highest daily wage earner in the industry is reported to be getting nearly Rs 10 lakhs per day as his salary, and a large amount of this money is hard cash. A senior I-T officer said film production houses and actors failed to pay taxes.

The film fraternity was upset as the raids came as a dampener on the eve of Diwali. Some big production houses, which released a couple of films, have also been raided.

It may be noted that Santhanam is starring in 15 films simultaneously whereas R.B. Choudhary is about to release his Vijay-starrer Jilla in January. Raids at Gnanavel Raja’s office have come on the eve of release of his Karthi-Kajal Aggarwal starrer All in All Azhagu Raja which is to release tomorrow on Deepavali.

Besides Chennai, raids also took place at six locations in Salem and Coimbatore. A team also searched at the Salem office premises of producer Ashok Samraj. A similar raid is said to have taken place at the Andhra Pradesh residence/office of a leading producer whose name was not revealed.

No details about the finding of any controversial documents have been made available to the press so far.


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