Actress Taapsee Pannu, in a tweet, claimed that the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has falsely claimed that the actress’ house and office were raided in 2013.
The Income Tax department recently conducted raids at Bollywood director and Producer Anurag Kashyap and Actress Taapsee Pannu’s offices. Several social media users, criticising the move, termed it political vendetta and misuse of the government machinery to settle political scores and silence dissenting voices. On the other hand, several social media users applauded the move and termed it ‘need of the hour’. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was present at the Indian Women’s Press Corps to talk about the government schemes and condition of the Indian economy. The Finance minister, while replying to a reporter who asked a question related to the IT raid on Anurag and Taapsee, said that the previous regimes have also nodded to one such raid in 2013 but it was received well back then and now it draws flaks. Several news and media outlets covered the statement made by the finance minister.
Report published by NDTV: https://archive.vn/NVBVA
Report published by The Hindu: https://archive.vn/5XAbJ
Report published by Times of India: https://archive.vn/7IpFF
Report published by Indian Express: https://archive.vn/Foi6d
Report published by The Print: https://archive.vn/jbGNi
Report published by Hindustan Times: https://archive.vn/vgp3D
Report published by Scroll.in: https://archive.vn/uEXUV
Report published by Livemint: https://archive.vn/nmkP4
Report published by Business Today: https://archive.vn/HaT3f
Report published by The Tribune: https://archive.vn/y1CHw
Tweet shared by ANI: https://archive.vn/6OXh8
Tweet shared by Mojo Story: https://archive.vn/hxzDT
Since we had already read the print version of Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement in the reports cited above, we searched for a multimedia version of the statement made by the finance minister. We ran a query on Google using the keyword ‘Nirmala Sitharaman on Anurag Kashyap IT raid’ and found a video published by the channel that goes by the name ‘S Cube TV National’.
After watching the 1.25 seconds video, we found that the finance minister made no mention of Taapsee Pannu while answering the question related to recent raids on bollywood celebrities. The finance minister, in fact, started her reply by saying, “Well, first of all, I am not commenting on any ‘A’ individual or ‘B’ individual…”
Transcript of the statement made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman:
“Well, first of all, I am not commenting on any ‘A’ individual or ‘B’ individual, when any individual… there are raids happening… when it happens during ‘A’ govt, it’s fine… When it happens during this govt, it’s not. And since the names were taken, the very same name in 2013 raided, not an issue… not an issue… it’s an issue now. How do I answer this? Answer it for the hypocrisy or answer it saying from then this is happening till now, what’s the matter? In the national interest, do we want to know if there is honestly something happening… some evasion happening… I don’t know… I am not commenting on a particular case… I will not. But if, that relates to names… I want to ask, should we raise questions whether there was a serious omission and commission or should we raise the question of… oh! it’s happening now… Please look back, it happened in 2013 on this very same.”
Notably, the aforementioned YouTube video does not seem to carry the full statement. We then started searching for an extended version of the said video. Taking a cue from the banner seen in the above-mentioned YouTube video, we searched for the social media accounts of the Indian Women’s Press Corps. In the aftermath of running a search query on Google, we found the official YouTube channel of the organization. However, video of the said event was not published on the channel. We then checked the Twitter page of the organization and found a Facebook video in one of the tweets made by the page.
It is pertinent to note that the above-mentioned Tweet contains the link to a Facebook video that carries the full statement of the finance minister made during the said event. At 45 minutes 30 seconds, the finance minister could be heard talking about the recently conducted IT raids on Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu. It is also important to note that the Finance Minister made the said statement about a person in singular and did not refer to Taapsee Pannu specifically.
We now begin fact-checking the claim made by the finance minister regarding IT raids during the tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. With the help of Google search, we found two reports consequently published by Economic Times and Mumbai Mirror that confirm Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement about the IT raids during previous regimes.
Therefore we could reach the conclusion that the tweet made by Bollywood Actress Taapsee Pannu is misleading and the finance minister did not refer to her while speaking about the IT raids conducted under previous regimes. However, this is not the first time that the Indian media has misquoted the finance minister. In 2019, several news and media outlets took her statement on onion prices out of context and published misleading reports, our fact check report on the said claim can be read here.
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