New Delhi: Thamizh actor Vijay has come under the scrutiny of the Income Tax Department over alleged tax evasion linked to AGS Cinemas, which produced his latest blockbuster Bigil released in 2019.
On Wednesday, Income Tax officials searched the properties of AGS Cinemas, the film’s financier Anbu Cheliyan as well as Vijay’s Chennai residence.
According to media reports, they found over Rs 77 crore in cash at the financier’s property. “In the context of the issues of the prominent actor, it is stated that his investment in immovable properties and remuneration received from the said producer for acting in the film is the subject matter of investigation in the present search. Searches in some of the premises are still continuing,” Surabhi Ahluwalia, spokesperson Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said.
“The counting is still going on and the total seizure is likely to go up,” an official reportedly said.
Moreover, some officials said that their investigation revealed “unaccounted transactions” between Vijay and Anbu Cheliyan which subsequently led to their questioning.
“We had information that he had taken a huge amount in cash towards salary for his recent film Bigil,” officials reportedly said.
The investigation further sparked controversy when the Income Tax department interrupted Vijay who was shooting his latest film Master in Cuddalore. The actor was asked to return to Chennai in light of the investigation.
Fans stand with Vijay
Fondly referred to as Ilayathalapathy (commander) by fans, C. Joseph Vijay is arguably one of the most popular actors in Kollywood as the Thamizh film industry is known.
He has delivered blockbuster hits such as Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, Nerrukku Ner, Thirumalai, Ghilli, Friends.
The actor has a devoted section of fans who rushed to his defence when he was summoned by the I-T officials. Vijay fans expressed support by tweeting the hashtag “WeStandWithVijay”.
Tax Officials have every right to question any Indian. Agreed. But how did a normal questioning become such a huge public news?! Who is giving all this information to media?
— Madan Gowri (@madan3) February 6, 2020
The actor has had run-ins with both the ruling AIADMK and the BJP.
In October 2017, the Tamil Nadu BJP and AIADMK had strongly opposed his film Mersal as it featured dialogues that were critical of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The BJP had at the time demanded “cuts” in Mersal for portraying “untruths” about GST. The BJP also played up the fact that he was a Christian, with party general secretary H. Raja stating that since he was a Christian, Vijay hated Modi.
In response, the actor issued a statement thanking fans for their support during the row, but made it a point to sign off with his full name, C. Joseph Vijay.
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