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IT raids offices, homes of Mammootty and Mohanlal

 Income tax sleuths have raided the houses, offices and hotels of Malayalam film stars Mammootty and Mohanlal. Both the Kerala-based actors have been asked to appear before tax officials in person here.

The searches started at 6.30am on Friday morning with 80 officials simultaneously verifying records at their homes in Kochi and numerous offices in Chennai, Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram.

IT sleuths cited a huge gap in the IT returns and the income the superstars make in a year. Both have the same chartered accountant who has his head office in Thiruvananthapuram. The initial statements from both the actors have been taken.

The taxmen have reportedly seized several documents. Official sources report that the team has also found an elephant tusk from Mohanlal's Kochi residence.

Residence of Mohanlal's close aid Antony Perumbavoor is also being raided, said the official.

Mammootty is expected to appear before IT officials in the evening as he was in Chennai when the raids began, while Mohanlal may not arrive Friday as he is shooting in the coastal town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
IT officials reached Rameswaram and took a statement from Mohanlal.

The extensive raids, it now appears, were kept secret by the IT department and also a well planned one as officials also closed in on the business associates of the two superstars.

The officials reached the home of Mohanlal in the Kerala capital where his aged mother resides.

For Mammootty, the raid came a day after his son's engagement in Chennai. Sources close to him say he has left for Kochi.

Mohanlal has interests in film production, distribution, IT education and also the hospitality industry. Besides, he is an active player in the real estate sector along with his close friends.

Mammootty's interests also include a film production house and he is the patron of a new boutique hospital in Bangalore.

Those questioned include Mohanlal and Mammootty's main business partners, producer Antony Perumbavoor and Anto Joseph respectively.

One bedroom of Mohanlal at his Kochi residence is yet to be opened because a bio-metric gadget makes entry possible only with the fingerprints of close family members.

Last week Kozhikode businessman K.A. Rauf, without naming anyone, said a Malayalam superstar and a business house in the state were engaged in a huge real estate deal in Maharashtra.

The IT officials locked the homes from inside and no one was allowed to come in or go out as they prepared their report based on the superstars' IT returns. 

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