IT department searches properties of Tamil Nadu film producers and distributors, unearths cash and valuables worth millions

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A statement released by the Income Tax (IT) Department on Saturday said three-day searches of premises belonging to producers, distributors and financiers associated with the Tamil film industry uncovered cash , valuables and unrecorded investments worth several crores.

The search operations have been carried out at almost 40 premises in Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Vellore and so far computer detectives have uncovered Rs 20 crore in cash and detected undisclosed income exceeding Rs 200 crore as well as jewelry in gold worth more than Rs 3 crore.

A statement issued by the IT department said: “During the search operations, several incriminating documents and digital evidence etc. related to cash transactions and unaccounted investments were seized. Secret and hidden premises were also discovered during the search. The IT department, however, did not release the names of those searched.

The statement added that searches of the properties of film financiers revealed documents such as promissory notes etc. related to unrecorded cash loans which were given as advances to various film production houses and others.

“In the case of film production houses, the evidence points to tax evasion, as the actual amounts made from the release of the films are far greater than the amounts shown in the usual books of accounts. Unrecognized income thus generated by them is deployed for undisclosed investments as well as undisclosed payments,” the statement added.

“Similarly, evidence seized from the affairs of film distributors points to unaccounted cash from cinemas. According to the evidence, distributors formed unions and systematically suppressed theatrical collections, leading to the suppression of real income…Further investigations are ongoing,” the statement read.

The statement also noted that documents such as promissory notes related to unrecorded cash loans had been seized from film financiers. “Evidence seized from film distributors points to unaccounted money from cinemas… So far the operation has resulted in the detection of undisclosed revenue exceeding Rs 200 crore, undisclosed money of Rs 26 crore and unaccounted for gold jewelery exceeding Rs 3 crore.”

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