The digital ‘news’ outlet The Print, owned by ‘journalist’ Shekhar Gupta, who has a history of peddling half-truth, was slammed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for falsely attributing quotes which she had never made.
On February 14, The Print had come up with a report titled, “Why Nirmala Sitharaman doesn’t understand ”Bombay people””, in which, it had claimed, Nirmala Sitharaman had a post-Budget interaction with the captains of industry in Mumbai last week. The report was published in the Pre-Truth segment of the portal, a collection of snippets from the world of politics and government.
During the meeting, according to the Print article, she was confronted with probing questions on the rationale and impact of the continuance of the long-term capital gains tax as also the abolition of the dividend distribution tax.
The report further went on to claim that at one point, she snubbed an eminent participant, who is known as the ‘doyen of investment banking’ in India, saying, “I have done everything for you. What more do you want now?”
The report claimed that the Finance Minister did not leave it at that. While leaving, she told them, “I don’t understand Bombay people. We have done everything but it is still 4.3 per cent (growth rate in the third quarter of this fiscal). What have you done?”
As per The Print report, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is known to rub people the wrong way, especially when she finds herself cornered.
Citing the report, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday strongly denied the quotes attributed to her by the report in The Print where she is quoted as snubbing industrialists and saying “I don’t understand Bombay people”. The finance minister said that if the report by The Print is not a parody then it is calumny, or fake and defamatory.
Is this parody? If not and if serious, this is calumny. The quotes attributed to me are not mine. https://t.co/f7CtNxTdX3
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) February 15, 2020
“Is this parody? If not and if serious, this is calumny. The quotes attributed to me are not mine,” the Finance Minister said in a tweet early on Saturday.
Following the embarrassment, the Print has issued a statement claiming that they have noted the Finance Minister’s tweet and taken it most seriously. “We are getting all the details re-checked right away and assure you of our commitment to accuracy and fairness,” the left-wing news outlet.
We have noted your tweet and take it most seriously. We are getting all the details re-checked right away and assure you of our commitment to accuracy and fairness.
— ThePrint (@ThePrintIndia) February 15, 2020
The Print further released a statement claiming that they are holding back the report from their feature until further re-verification. The portal has removed the report from its Pre-Truth page for 14th February.