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Tax inspectors target top Bollywood stars

Published Jan 26, 2011 08:20am

(L-R) Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif, bollywood's most bankable female stars as part of an investigation.–AFP Photo

MUMBAI: Indian income tax officials said that they had raided the homes and offices of two of Bollywood's most bankable female stars as part of an investigation into suspected tax evasion.

Income tax department director-general D.P. Gaur told AFP that the residences and offices of actresses Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif were “being searched and whatever materials are procured will be recorded for further action”.

Gaur declined to say why the probe had been launched into the financial dealings of the actresses, who have become two of the hugely popular Hindi-language film industry's biggest stars in the last few years.

“We don't discuss these things but all I can say is that raids are on,” said Gaur, who heads tax investigations in India's financial and entertainment hub, Mumbai.

There was no immediate comment from publicists for either actress.

Chopra, 28, is a former Miss World who like many Indian models turned to acting. She has starred in a number of high profile movies, including “Fashion”, “Dostana” (Friendship) and “Kaminey” (Scoundrels).

She played 12 different characters in the 2009 film “What's Your Raashee?”(What's Your Zodiac Sign?). Chopra also endorses a number of products, including cosmetics.

Kaif, 26, was born in Hong Kong to a British mother and a father of Indian Kashmiri origin. Another former model, her first major hit was the 2007 movie “Namastey London” (Hello London).

She also starred in “Singh is Kinng”, “New York”, “Blue” and “Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani” (An Amazing Story of Strange Love), and a much talked about song and dance sequence in last year's “Tees Maar Khan” (Wiseguy).

Weekly news magazine India Today claimed in its latest issue that Kaif – who did not even speak Hindi when she got her first break in Bollywood – earns 30 million rupees ($670,000) per film and 25 million rupees a year for product endorsements.

Kaif is now among the most searched for Bollywood stars on the Internet search engine Google.