Kochi: Officials of the Income Tax department have been conducting searches in the offices of at least three top Malayali film producers identified as Antony Perumbavoor, Listin Stephen and Anto Joseph according to media reports. The I-T officials belong to the TDS wing of the Kochi office and sources said they are inspecting details of recent releases of these producers on OTT platforms.
Perumbavoor, who is the close aide of Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, is one of the most successful producers in Kerala currently. His latest production 'Marakkar: The Lion of the Arabian Sea' is rumoured to have been sold to an OTT platform for a whopping 70 crores and will have its theatre debut on December 2, in a follow up to the re-opening of theatres with Dulquer Salman's wildly successful 'Kurup'.
The Income Tax Department has stated that these raids are routine check-ups to ensure that no tax evasion or fraud was taking place. An unnamed official quoted by the Indian Express said that the film industry tended to attract foreign investment and that money laundering was common, necessitating such frequent checks.
Tax details of Antony Perumbavoor's Aashirward Cinemas, Anto Joseph's AJ Film Company and Listin Stephen's Magic Frames have been collected by the I-T Department from their offices in Kochi.