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No hidden millions found, say Katrina, Priyanka

Katrina Kaif & Priyanka (AGENCIES)

By Bindu Suresh Rai

UPDATE: Priyanka Chopra's spokesperson denied rumours about the actress that have emerged since her apartment and offices were raided by Indian income tax authorities on Monday, refuting allegations that she had unaccounted assets worth Rs60million and that actor Shahid Kapoor opened the door to officials at the actress's house.

"We deny the many malicious rumours being spread in the media on the basis of some unidentified sources," Priyanka's spokesperson said in a press statement Thursday. "We are extending all co-operation to the Income Tax authorities in their ongoing investigations and are restraining ourselves from commenting any further on the issue pending completion of the investigative process."

EARLIER: Even the mightiest have crumbled when the neighbourhood taxman comes calling, so it is quite admirable to see Bollywood’s Katrina Kaif refusing to succumb to quivering nerves since India's Income Tax department raided her Mumbai residence and office earlier this week.

The Hong Kong born British actress, who is fresh from a bumper 2010 that saw her films such as “Rajneeti” and “Tees Maar Khan” sizzle at the marquee, has rallied her accountants and issued a statement to put speculation to rest that the IT raid has unearthed Rs60 million worth of unclaimed cash reserves and other business ventures.

An official statement was released by Kaif’s chartered accountants on her behalf, which said: “A search was conducted by the Income Tax Dept at the residence of my client Ms Katrina Kaif. My client is disturbed by the speculative reports circulating in the media that she has disclosed unaccounted income running into crores (tens of millions) and unaccounted lockers were found.

“The fact of the matter is that no unaccounted income has been declared by her. Katrina is fully cooperating with the IT Dept, whom she holds in high regard.”

Business-savvy Kaif, who shares an accountant with actor/producer Aamir Khan for her portfolio, had told Emirates 24|7 last month that her interests vary when it comes to investing her money. She had added that she only pursues any business venture, be it investments, endorsements or films after considering the comfort value and the personal relations with those she interacts with.

Quizzed at the time if the real estate crash in Dubai had encouraged Kaif to follow suit of other actors such as Shilpa Shetty and Shah Rukh Khan – albeit the latter was allegedly gifted The Palm Signature Villa by Nakheel – to obtain property here, the actress said: “This place is a second home and it feels so great to return to Dubai every time, as the people here leave you alone when you go out.“I would love to invest in a home here one day; but it would be even better if someone gifted it to me.”

Real estate Tsarina

While we aren’t sure if Kaif’s words are coming back to haunt her presently, the other Bollywood starlet embroiled in the IT raid, Priyanka Chopra, has since maintained a low profile, especially since government officials allegedly unearthed 10 apartments owned by the actress, along with lockers filled with money and jewellery and other questionable documents.

Chopra has also never been shy about her interests, which have leaned towards real estate investments. Emirates 24|7 has seen the actress speak twice about venturing into property, the first time during the release of “Love Story 2050” in 2008 when she said: “I love coming there, so much so that I even toyed with the idea of purchasing property in Dubai.”

Then last year, the actress of the forthcoming “Saat Khoon Maaf” repeated her earlier statement to us, adding: “I have just been voicing my interest in investing in property here. Some of the projects are very impressive.”

When questioned if anything had been shortlisted, Chopra said: “No, it’s too soon. I’m going to shop around and take my time before I buy something here.”

If the news of her 10 apartments in Versova, a posh Mumbai suburb, is true then it could appear that the real estate crash of last year may have prompted the star to turn to home soil for her business ventures.

Ironically, Chopra was roped in as the brand ambassador for the Indian Tax Department last year, when she, along with actors Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar, appeared in a 20-minute documentary encouraging people to file their tax returns honestly and on time.

While we are not quite sure who is more embarrassed with this turn of events, the taxmen or Chopra herself, but the former beauty queen already has her plate full considering word has leaked that when the tax guys came knocking at 7.30am, what they discovered was a panicked actress in her bedroom along with a boxer-shorts clad actor, Shahid Kapoor.

Oh dear indeed.