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I-T officials check tax returns of actors

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Income-Tax officials who are examining the tax returns filed by film star and businessman Nagarjuna and others including Anushka Shetty and Ravi Teja were said to have found discrepancies, especially in the valuation of assets bought by the stars.

A top IT official told The Hindu that some concrete evidence of tax evasion by the actors was unearthed in the probe as concealed income was detected. The IT raids on their premises a couple of days ago also led to seizure of Rs. 25 lakh.

Meanwhile, sources said that purchase of land and other real estate-related activities taken up by the Akkineni family in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai did not find a place in the tax returns filed for the years 2008, 09 and 10.

The advance taxes filed for the current year also did not include Mr. Nagarjuna's recent land deals in Visakhapatnam. Accounts regarding his recent investments in N-Convention Centre and N-Grill restaurant were unclear.

IT officials are also probing the construction of a cine complex in Visakhapatnam by Ravi Teja, for which the actor bought land six months ago. They are looking into the purchase of land by the actors near Shamshabad, on the outskirts of the State capital, and in Visakhapatnam.

On Thursday, it is learnt that IT officials served notices on the three stars, producer D. Shiva Prasad Reddy and Mr. Nagarjuna's brother Venkat Akkineni, seeking their explanation on the discrepancies. If the stars refuse to accept that they have withheld their income, a penalty of up to 90 per cent of the value of assets unearthed in the raids can be imposed.

However, if they admit their mistake, they can get away by just paying a fine of up to 30 per cent of the cost of the assets, said department sources.

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