Taapsee Pannu and Anurag Kashyap have often spoken out on various national issues.

New Delhi:

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu, among the biggest critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration in Bollywood, are being questioned by Income Tax officials in Pune following raids on their properties all day over alleged tax evasion, sources told NDTV on Wednesday.

Searches took place at 30 locations in Mumbai and Pune, including premises linked to a talent agency as well as Phantom Films, which was co-promoted by Anurag Kashyap, producers Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena.

“The Income Tax department probes someone based on whatever information they get. The issue goes to court later,” Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said during a BJP briefing.

Exceed Entertainment and its promoters are also being searched. Exceed has been managing Saif Ali Khan for several years.

Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu are outspoken critics of the government and have lent their voice to various causes, including the ongoing farmer protests against central laws. Recently, Ms Pannu had criticised the involvement of celebrities in a government-backed campaign to counter pop star Rihanna’s post drawing attention to the farmers’ agitation. The actor took a jibe at the pushback and questioned “one tweet” rattling one’s belief.

“If one tweet rattles your unity, one joke rattles your faith or one show rattles your religious belief, then it’s you who has to work on strengthening your value system not become propaganda teachers for others,” Ms Pannu had said on social media last month.

Several ministers in Maharashtra slammed the tax raids, saying Mr Kashyap and Ms Pannu were being targeted because of their views. “The way in which raids were conducted in the homes and offices of Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu, this is definitely the usage of Enforcement Directorate or the Income Tax against those who take a stand against the government or its policies. Anurag Kashyap and Tapasee Pannu have raised their voice against the Modi government’s policies. This action is an attempt to suppress their voices,” Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav called the raids a “condemnable act” and slammed the centre. “They first employed IT, CBI, ED to conduct raids on vocal and upright political rivals for their character assassination. Now Nazi govt is chasing social activists, journalists & artists to threaten them against calling spade a spade,” the Bihar politician tweeted.

Anurag Kashyap had been vocal about condemning the violence against anti-Citizenship Act protesters in 2019. Last year, he had expressed support for actor Rhea Chakraborty in the Sushant Singh Rajput case and had slammed Bollywood actors for not speaking up enough on the case.

Phantom Films was dissolved in 2018 following Vikas Bahl being named in an incident of alleged sexual misconduct.

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