Chennai: Tamil actor Vijay, who was questioned by the Income Tax Department for more than 23 hours last week, has garnered a lot of support from lakhs of fans across the state. Posters of the actor can be spotted across Madurai district in which fans convey that only their ‘Thalapathy’ (commander/leader) can save Tamil Nadu.
One such poster shows Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and political strategist Prashant Kishor telling Vijay to save a “troubled” Tamil Nadu. “We have saved Andhra. You have to save troubled Tamil Nadu and take care of the welfare of the people,” is the message.
The I-T Department last week conducted searches at Vijay’s residence in Chennai. The actor was in Neyveli shooting for his upcoming film ‘Master’ when sleuths brought him back to the state capital. The search followed after raids at AGS Production Company, producers of Vijay’s ‘Bigil’.
I-T officials maintained there was no cash seizure from the searches carried out at Vijay’s residence.
In the statement, an I-T spokesperson said, “In the context of the issues of the prominent actor, it is stated that his investment in immovable properties and remuneration received from the said producer for acting in the film is the subject matter of investigation in the present search.”
Vijay is seen as someone with political ambitions. The actor was mired in controversy after his films depicted anti-BJP dialogues, with the party’s Tamil Nadu unit targeting him in the past.
Even as raids were underway at the actor’s residence, the state BJP denied any role behind them.
Two days after the raids, workers of the state BJP had staged a protest outside the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) India Limited for giving the actor permission to go ahead with the shoot in the area. The move came after Vijay resumed work for his upcoming film ‘Master’ last Friday following the raids. Meanwhile, hundreds of his fans gathered near the shooting spot, which continued for three days.
Vijay's films in the past have often disseminated social messages. In ‘Mersal’, there were statements criticising the central government’s demonetisation move and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) whereas in ‘Sarkar’, there was criticism against the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the culture of freebies.
(With inputs from S Annette Beryl Elizabeth)