Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated on Friday that filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and actress Taapsee Pannu were previously raided in 2013 but it was not made into an issue back then as it is being done now. The Finance Minister refused to comment on the individual cases saying it is in the nation's interest to find out whether some tax evasion took place.
During an interaction with journalists at Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC), Sitharaman said, "First of all, I am not commenting on any A or B individual. (But) since the names were taken, (I want to say) the very same names were raided in 2013". It "wasn't an issue (in 2013). It's an issue now," Sitharaman added.
Sitharaman further discussed how the 2013 raids were not an issue but the recent ones are. "Answer it for the hypocrisy or answer it, saying from then this is happening till now, what's the matter (with now)," she stated. "In the national interest, do we want to know if there is some evasion happening."
"I don't know. I am not commenting on a particular case. But if that relates to particular names I want to ask - should we raise questions whether there was a serious omission and commission or should we raise a question about ''oh it's happening now''?" she said. "Please look back. It happened in 2013."
Pannu reacted to the Finance Minister's comments on this matter on Twitter. Contradicting the FM's remarks, Pannu has denied that any raid was conducted against her in 2013. Mockingly, Pannu has stated that among the 3 primary things the 3 days of intense search whave been about, is her memory of the 2013 raid "that happened with me according to our honourable finance minister." She added, "P.S- "not so sasti" anymore".
3. My memory of 2013 raid that happened with me according to our honourable finance minister 🙏🏼
P.S- "not so sasti" anymore 💁🏻♀️- taapsee pannu (@taapsee) March 6, 2021
Earlier on March 3, the Income Tax Department had initiated raids on the homes and offices of Taapsee Pannu and Anurag Kashyap. The I-T department has also gone after two of Kashyap's partners with whom he had established the now-closed Phantom Films.
Taapsee Pannu and Anurag Kashyap have been outspoken critics of the BJP-led central government over the last few years. Many believe the government is allegedly using the I-T dept as a tool to silence dissenters.