7:22 AM IST - Wednesday November 26, 2014

Malayalam superstars feel heat of IT raids

Kochi, July 23 (IANS) Superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal reigned supreme when they played sophisticated conmen or upright bureaucrats in reel life, but in real life they have begun to feel the heat with IT sleuths raiding their premises.

Searches were conducted by a team of 80 IT officials on the two actors and their business associates at 20 different locations across four southern cities Friday.

Mammootty, who was in Chennai, arrived here Friday night along with his wife but maintained a stoic silence before the media. When he arrived at his plush residence here, he was met by a team of IT sleuths.

And when the IT officials left his house, it was around 3.45 a.m. Saturday.

Mohanlal was busy shooting in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu when IT team arrived at the shooting location. After a brief chat with the actor, the officials took him to his hotel room, where they recorded his statement.

A source close to Mohanlal said he will present himself before the IT officials Monday.

Meanwhile, a top Malayalam film star on condition of anonymity told IANS that the IT raids have become a major point of discussion in the industry and at shooting locations.

“The general impression among people is that these superstars failed to evoke any sympathy simply because in order to remain the numero one, both have started their own film production and distribution companies,” said the star who did not wish to be identified.

T.P. Krishnakumar, director, investigations in the Income Tax office, revealed Friday that the IT sleuths would continue their raids for the next two days. He added that they would soon come out with an official press release on why they conducted the raids.

The sleuths have recovered huge amounts of cash from Mammootty’s Chennai residence and also discovered numerous real estate deals done by the two.

The forest department discovered a pair of elephant tusks in Mohanlal’s home here and the actor will have to show documents proving that he has the necessary license for it.

IT sleuths said there was a huge gap between the income mentioned by the two in their tax returns and what they actually earned.

They also raided the office and home of a chartered accountant who incidentally is the financial advisor for both stars.

The others on the radar of the IT sleuths are the producers of the duo’s ongoing films which are scheduled to hit the theatres in the coming months.


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