Mumbai: The bitter critics of the Modi government in Bollywood – film maker Anurag Kasyap, 48, and actor Taapsee Pannu, 33, – faced the questions of Income Tax officials on Wednesday on the allegations of tax evasion. Their properties have been raided throughout the day by the Income Tax officials and they were questioned in Pune. About 30 locations in Mumbai and Pune have been searched by the officials. Both the film celebrities supported the farmers’ agitation and opposed many of the government measures. When there were protests against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), Kashyap had visited JNU and Shaheen Bagh in Delhi to express his support.
The properties that were raided by the tax officials included Phantom Films, now defunct, which was promoted by film producers Aurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena. Union Information Minister Prakash Javadekar said during the daily BJP briefing in Delhi that income tax officials conduct raids in a routine manner basing on the information they receive and then the matter goes to court. When reporters commented that the raids could be linked to their political views the minister simply said, “This is too much.”
Taapsee Ponnu recently criticised some film celebrities for supporting governments moves against pop star Rihanna’s post expressing sympathy for the farmers who have been agitating in Delhi streets for almost two months.
There have been condemnations across the country of the tax raids on Kashyap and Taapsee. Anyone who speaks against government or takes a stand against the government would be taken to task and Kashyap and Taapsee are paying the price for opposing the government, said several ministers in the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and the opposition leader in Bihar Tejashwi Yadav compared the actions with that of Nazi government. “Now Nazi government is chasing social activists, journalists and atists threatening them for calling a spade a spade,” Tejashwi tweeted. The BJP led NDA government had first tried to silence the political rivals by using CBI, ED and Income Tax department. Now they are after arists, journalists and social activists, he said.