Tax raids at the premises of Tamil film producer Anbu Chezhiyan

CHENNAI : The Tamil film industry faced a massive crackdown on Tuesday from the Income Tax Department when they raided several locations suspected of being linked to famous financier and film producer Anbu Chezhiyan.

People with knowledge of the situation said computer sleuths had been raiding since 5 a.m. They further informed that raids were underway in 40 locations including Chennai and Madurai.

In Chennai, a team of detectives also reportedly raided a location in Nungambakkam Kamthar Nagar area. Cheziyan would live in the area.

The raids come just five months after Chezhiyan’s daughter’s grand wedding in Chennai, which was graced by celebrities across India. Personalities ranging from Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Suriya to Boney Kapoor were present at the scene. Many politicians also attended the wedding.

Chezhiyan from Madurai is very influential and one of the main financiers of the Tamil film industry. He is the managing director of the production company Gopuram Films. As a producer, he was the backbone of hit movies like Aandavan Kattalai (2016), Vellaikaara Durai (2014), Thanga Magan (2015), Marudhu (2016).

Anbu Chezhiyan’s nefarious ways as a film producer and financier were first exposed in 2003 when G Venkateswaran, a well-known Kollywood producer and brother of ace director Mani Ratnam, was found hanged at his residence on Harrington Road.

GV, as it was called, had produced some of the great Kollywood hits like Agni Natchathiram and Mouna Ragam. He did not leave a suicide note, but there were strong rumors that the producer, in debt due to a few flops, had committed suicide without being able to bear the pressure of film financiers.

Chezhiyan came to public attention in 2017 when Ashok Kumar, cousin of director Sasikumar, died by suicide with a note alleging mental torture and trauma related to financial issues by Chezhiyan.

After that, Chezhiyan came to public attention in 2020 when computer raids were carried out on personalities connected with the movie “Bigil” which was released in 2019. That time, even the whole Bigil movie crew passed under computer scanner with raids on actor Vijay and production house AGS.

Two years later, the income tax department has now raided several locations linked to the powerful film producer.

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