The team of I-T officials reached Neyveli, where Vijay is shooting for his upcoming film ‘Master’, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, for conducting an inquiry.

Actor Vijay questioned Bigil producers raided by Income Tax authorities
Flix I-T searches Wednesday, February 05, 2020 - 16:52

In a sudden development, officials from the Income Tax department have approached actor Vijay to conduct an inquiry related to his latest movie Bigil.

The team of I-T officials reached Neyveli, where Vijay is shooting for his upcoming film Master, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, for conducting an inquiry. This questioning comes on the same day when I-T officials are conducting searches in over 20 locations related to the AGS Group, which includes AGS Cinemas and AGS Entertainment, which produced Bigil. I-T officials have also been involved in searches in properties related to movie financier Anbu Chezhiyan since Wednesday morning.

According to sources, the actor, who has been shooting in Neyveli for his upcoming flick since February 1, was issued summons. Visuals have emerged of the shooting spot in Cuddalore district where filming was brought to an abrupt halt as officials reached the set. The summons were reportedly issued over the income raked in by the actor following the success of the sports drama Bigil. IT sources told TNM that the questioning of the actor relates to his salary for the movie as well as the profits garnered by Bigil. Questioning is expected to continue at his ECR residence on Wednesday evening as he arrives in Chennai.

Sources in the IT Department also told TNM that the raids are also connected to cinema financier Anbuchezhiyan. The well-known industry insider, who often monetarily backs production houses, has been accused by multiple people of loan shark behaviour. As recent as November 2017, the financier was booked for abetment of suicide over the death of Tamil producer Ashok Kumar who had alleged harassment over debts.

Vijay's last two films before Bigil - Mersal and Sarkar - also ran into controversy. While Mersal was directed by Atlee, who also directed him in Bigil, Sarkar was directed by AR Murugadoss. Mersal took potshots at GST, demonetisation and Digital India, upsetting the BJP in Tamil Nadu. The party, in turn, accused Vijay of being anti-BJP because he's Christian. The BJP's H Raja tweeted Vijay's Voter ID which has his full name Joseph Vijay, claiming that this was why he was attacking the Centre. The BJP also took exception to the fact that Mersal has a scene where Vijay's character says a hospital should be built in place of a temple.

Sarkar was regarded as Vijay's loudest statement yet about his entry into state politics. The film took on the AIADMK in the state - from distributing freebies to having a female antagonist closely resembling Jayalalithaa and Sasikala. Following objections, the film underwent certain cuts and some dialogues were muted.

The I-T Department carried out searches at Vijay’s residence in September 2015 as well ahead of the release of his film Puli. At the time, searches were also carried out in properties belonging to his co-actors Nayanthara and Samantha. 

Following the raids then, Vijay had released a statement denying reports of alleged tax evasion.

"They raided my office and home last week to probe whether I have evaded tax or not. My family and staff offered full cooperation to the officials and presented all the documents of my income tax returns with evidence," Vijay had said in October 2015, adding, "I have been religiously paying income tax, wealth tax and professional tax on all my assets and income till this very financial year."

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