Day before the release of Mahesh Babu's ‘Maharishi’, producer Dil Raju raided by I-T

The Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday raided the office and residence of prominent Tollywood producer Dil Raju in Hyderabad. The raids were conducted at Sagar Society near Srinagar Colony, just one day before the release of Mahesh Babu’s Maharshi, of which Dil Raju is one of the producers.

A source close to Dil Raju confirmed to TNM that the raids were taking place. However, he claimed that such raids are common practice ahead of big-budget movie releases.

Officials examined records at the producer’s house and office and reportedly inquired about the movie’s budget, pre-release promotions and collections, and the expected collections of the big-budget film. Fun and Frustration, produced by Dil Raju and released earlier this year, was a massive success at the box office.

Officials reportedly examined past collections and tax payment records as well.

This is not the first time Dil Raju is being raided.

In 2015, when Ram Charan Teja-starrer Bruce Lee hit theatres, Income Tax officials raided the residences and offices of the movie's director and producer.

At the time, I-T officials raided the house and office of director Srinu Vaitla and producer D V V Danayya, besides Dil Raju, who was the film’s distributor.

In 2016, Income Tax Department officials raided the homes and offices of Baahubali producers Shobhu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, another big budget film.

The raids were conducted following the success of Baahubali: The Beginning, when the filmmakers were busy with the shooting of the movie’s sequel. The franchise is one of the most expensive ones in India and was also one of the most successful blockbusters.

Directed by Vamsi Paidapally, Maharshi is a high budget project, with a chunk of it being shot in the United States. The film is about three friends — played by Mahesh Babu, Allari Naresh and Pooja Hegde. It also has veteran actor Jayasudha playing a pivotal role.

It is produced jointly by Dil Raju, C Ashwini Dutt and Prasad V Potluri under the banners Sri Venkateswara Creations, Vyjayanthi Movies and PVP Cinema.