In a first-of-its-kind, Kollywood, which is one of the biggest cinema industries in India, has witnessed massive Income Tax raids in the town as several popular bankrollers have come under the scanner on the allegations of tax evasion. The unprecedented scale of search has targeted a slew of properties but, besides sifting the evidence for tax evasion, the Income Tax Department has seemingly performed a political game to get closer to its ultimate target - Udhayanidhi Stalin.
In the wee hours of August 2, the team of sleuths from the Income Tax department reached the residence of prominent producers with a big mission of circling the producers' fraternity. They knocked on the doors of the residences of producers GN Anbu Chezhiyan, Kalaipuli S Thanu, Thiagarajan, and S R Prabhu and staged raids. Over 40 places that linked to these producers in Chennai and Madurai were searched as the incessant raids have gained huge attention.
The raids lasted for four days and on Friday - August 5, the Income Tax department officials said that they have exhumed the documents for unaccounted cash of a whopping Rs 200 crore from the properties of Anbu Chezhiyan. While they recovered Rs 26 crore as hard cash, jewellery worth Rs 3 crore was also exhumed. It has been reported that such raids can be seen in Kollywood town in the coming days. Behind this unprecedented fashion of raids lies an important message from IT in chasing its ultimate target.
According to our sources, the Income Tax department has initially planned to conduct raids separately against these producers. However, after receiving the order from Delhi to target everyone at the same time, the plans were modified in a way to target these producers. Over 200 officials were involved in the task and the Income Tax department sent officials who haven't gone to such raids related to the cinema industry before.
Our sources have further said that these raids were rolled out in the direction of Principal Chief Income Tax Commissioner R Ravichandran, who is in charge of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Ravichandran took this role this June and he has served in several central committees and he was also involved in tracking and locating the cryptocurrencies. After he took up this role, one of the important factors that he discussed was the monetary transactions between the politicians and the people in the Tamil cinema industry.
These raids were repercussions of how Ravichandran was serious about the transactions happening in the cinema industry. Our sources reveal that this is not the end and the Income Tax department has aimed at several political figures and businessmen. While we asked the officials in the know about how Udhayanidhi Stalin has pulled into the drama as the target, they told us that Udhayanidhi Stalin's 'Red Giant Movies' is currently dominating in the Tamil Cinema industry.
They further said that Red Giant Movies is acquiring the distributing rights of around 90% of the movies that are produced in Kollywood. As Udhayanidhi Stalin is surging in the industry, the rivals in the industry have taken his business to the attention of the Income Tax Department. One of the big pieces of information that was shared with the Income Tax department is about Kamal Haasan's latest movie 'Vikram' and how Udhayanidhi Stalin came into the picture along with Anbu Chezhiyan.
According to the sources, Kamal Haasan has acquired a debt of Rs 50 crore from Kollywood financier Anbu Chezhiyan. However, the legendary actor couldn't able to repay it on time and when his movie 'Vikram' got closer to release, Kamal Haasan agreed to provide the distribution rights of the movie to Anbu Chezhiyan for the debt. However, Udhayanidhi Stalin approached Kamal Haasan and sought the distribution rights of Vikram as it was produced by Kamal.
During the discussion, Kamal Haasan informed Udhayanidhi that he has agreed to give the distribution rights to Anbu Chezhiyan to compensate for the debt. Udhayanidhi has assured Kamal Haasan that he will take care of the Rs 50 crore debt to Anbu Chezhiyan and that he would take the distribution rights of a Vikram. After hearing the assurance from Udhayanidhi, Kamal Haasan has spoken with Anbu Chezhiyan about the assurance.
As Anbu Chezhiyan didn't want to clash with Udhayanidhi Stalin, he agreed with Kamal Haasan and finally, the distribution rights for Vikram were won by Red Giant Movies. Our sources add that as per the assurance, Udhayanidhi has settled Rs 50 crore debt to Anbu Chezhiyan in hard cash. This cash transaction was informed to the Income Tax Department by the industry insiders and the agency was also informed that several leaders of the state ruling party have made illegal investments through the cinema producers.
Based on these tipoffs, the Income Tax department has charted a mega raid which was later rolled out against Anbu Chezhiyan and several producers. These raids were conducted to recover evidence about the illegal investments and cash transactions with Udhayanidhi Stalin. As several documents have been recovered, the Income Tax department will be unleashing a major operation against Udhayanidhi Stalin and several DMK leaders in the near future.