Tax officials raid Ram Gopal Varma’s office; grill him for over 8 hours

Updated: Sep 12, 2013, 09:18 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Resham Sengar

New Delhi: Ram Gopal Varma, Bollywood’s eminent film maker, had an unexpected visitor on Wednesday – the service tax officials. The tax officials knocked on the doors of the film maker’s Millat Nagar office in Andheri at 2 pm and stayed in there till 10.30 pm.

The director came under the scrutiny of the department when it came to the notice of the tax men that his name does not feature on a list of 132 celebrities who have been issued notices over the past year for suspected tax evasion.

Furthermore, the tax officials said there are no records of his production houses with the department which he claims were registered in Hyderabad. During the raid, the officials discovered that there is no record of his production houses being registered anywhere let alone in Hyderabad. According to the tax men, two of these phantom production houses are Dream Force Productions and Dream Force Enterprises.

On condition of anonymity, a tax official said to a daily, "We will scrutinise each of his projects to find out the amount of service and professional tax he has evaded. Film producers are liable to pay service tax as they sell their films and their satellite rights. Varma, being a director scriptwriter as well, is also liable to pay professional tax. We are recording his statement."

The service tax officials say that Varma tried to evade tax by shifting base to Hyderabad when his films suffered financially post 2008. Until then he was based out of Mumbai. But the officials grew suspicious when they saw that RGV’s name is not there in the list of 132 persons from the film industry. The raid has only confirmed their doubts.

A source close to Varma confirmed the raid to the daily and added that the director is cooperating with the officials. The raid was conducted at the Silver Arch building in Millat Nagar, Andheri.