IT sleuths raid premises of three successful Mollywood producers; official hints industry’s links to money laundering

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Income Tax Department on Friday carried out inspections at the office to three mainstream producers of the Malayalam film industry including Antony Perumbavoor at their offices in Kochi. The IT officials said that it was a ‘routine check’ to ensure that no tax evasion had taken place.

The inspections were held at the offices of Antony Perumbavoor of Aashirward Cinemas, Anto Joseph of AJ Film Company and Listin Stephen of Magic Frames at their offices in Kochi. The checking started from the morning and continued till evening. “These producers had filed their tax details in recent months. We carried out checks at their offices to ensure that no tax evasion has taken place. As the film industry often attracts investments especially from abroad, we carry out such inspections on a regular basis. Often film industry is used for laundering of money,” an official said.

Meanwhile, there are reports that IT checks were related to money received by these producers from OTT platforms. However, IT officials claimed that all the details regarding the income of these producers and their production houses have been collected. “It is up to the producers to decide whether to release the movie via OTT platforms or in the cinema theatres. We check the tax details disclosed by these producers about the income they received and whether there is any misappropriation in it. Not only revenue from OTT platform, but details regarding their expenditure are also collected,” the official said.

Antony Perumbavoor is a close confidante of star actor Mohanlal, which is all set to release the big-budget movie ‘Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea.’ Anto Joseph-owned AJ Film Company produced several box office hit movies in Kerala including the OTT-released movies such as Fahad Fazil-starring Malik, Prithviraj’s ‘Cold Case’. Listin Stephen-owned Magic Frames was the banner that produced movies films such as Kettyolaanu Ente Malakha, Driving License, and Mohan Kumar Fans.

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