Tax raid on home of Bollywood star

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The Independent Online

In her years as a leading actress of Bollywood, Priyanka Chopra has taken on a number of different parts. Last year, the former Miss World even starred in a short promotional film to encourage people to pay income tax.

But yesterday the starlet found herself playing a somewhat different role – that of an alleged tax avoider. Ms Chopra, 28, was one of two Bollywood stars whose homes were raided by income tax officials in Mumbai. A leading photographer, famed for his work with celebrities from the Hindi film industry, also saw his office raided.

Officials told reporters that the three – Ms Chopra, British actress Katrina Kaif and photographer Atul Kasbekar – were under suspicion of having evaded income tax on earnings from advertisements, foreign work and guest appearances, where Bollywood stars are often paid vast sums for showing up at events such as the wedding of an industrialist’s child. “We suspect tax evasion on brand endorsements, offshore assignments and private appearances,” said one official.

The raids, which involved up to 30 inspectors, began at around 7.30am at the actresses’ homes on Monday and continued well into the evening. The homes of Ms Chopra’s father and secretary were also searched.

One report said the income tax officials had sealed a dozen bank lockers belonging to the three and collected a number of bank statements, property documents and details of their investments.

Ms Chopra made her debut in Bollywood in 2002 in the film The Hero and since been cast in more than 30 productions, including the popular film Fashion.