Top Telugu film producer Suresh Babu and his production house Ramanaidu Studio have come under the scanner of the Income Tax department, with its officials conducting raids on his residence and offices early on Wednesday morning.
Ramanaidu Studios, which was founded by late D Ramanaidu, is one of India's largest film production companies with over 50 years of contribution to national and regional cinema. The banner had one release - Oh! Baby - this year and is waiting to release Venky Mama and Asuran remake next year. Suresh Babu, the boss of the banner was in for a shock when the IT officials conducted raids on Wednesday.
The buzz in the media is that three teams of IT officials launched raids in Suresh Babu's house and offices. Jalapathy Gudelli, a reporter from the Telugu media tweeted this morning, "IT raids on Ramanaidu Studio and producer Suresh Babu's offices. IT officials today are conducting raids on the office premises of several celebrities and production houses. A simultaneous exercise....."
It is rumoured that the officials sought an explanation on IT returns documents of the last four years. Aakashavaani tweeted, "IT Raids on #RamanaiduStudios 3 IT official teams raided multiple places belongs to Suresh Production this morning Officials seeking explanation on IT returns documents for the last four years and already seized few important documents Raids may continue till evening."
Interestingly, the news about the IT raids hitting the internet, days after Suresh Babu made a shocking revelation that he was not able to pay his employees' salaries and electricity bills. He had said, "With digital streaming platforms becoming popular and easily available on your fingertips with each passing day, general audiences are not interested in stepping into the theatres at all."
The son of late filmmaker Ramanaidu had added, "They are opting for Netflix and Amazon to watch all the latest movies. They are only watching the big spectacles like Sye Raa and Saaho in theatres. Having no audience on a regular basis has become so common and a lot of trouble is being caused. Forget paying salaries to the employees, I am not even able to pay electricity bills."