IT survey, BBC, Delhi, Mumbai
Income Tax officials descending on the offices of the BBC for a “survey” weeks after the broadcaster telecast a controversial documentary series on Modi is only the latest in an unending string of what could be viewed as alarming instances of a belligerent government wielding the stick (Pic: iStock)

I-T survey at BBC offices continues amid condemnation from various quarters

The Income-Tax survey at the offices of BBC in Delhi and Mumbai that began at 11 am on Tuesday (February 14) is continuing on Wednesday (February 15).

According to the Income Tax department, the survey was being carried out to investigate issues related to international taxation and transfer pricing of BBC and its subsidiary companies.

The UK government said it was “closely monitoring” the enquiries against the broadcaster.

Mobile phones seized

The Income-Tax officials confiscated all the electronic equipment in the BBC offices, and checked the mobile phones of the employees. The mobile phones of the employees at the Delhi office were seized by the officers.

Sources said the tax officials searched for keywords like shell company, fund transfer, and foreign transfer on the computer systems of the employees.

Also read: I-T men ‘survey’ BBC offices in Delhi, Mumbai; Congress slams govt

Days after the controversy over a BBC documentary series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and allegations linked to the 2002 Gujarat riots, teams of officials from the Income Tax Department reached BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday (February 14) as part of a tax evasion investigation.

Widespread condemnation

Meanwhile, the Editors Guild of India tweeted that it was deeply concerned about the IT “surveys” being carried out at the offices of BBC India, and “was distressed by the continuing trend of government agencies being used to intimidate and harass news organisations that are critical of the ruling establishment”.

Sanjay Raut, the Shiv Sena MP (Uddhav Thackeray faction) tweeted that the raids on BBC established that India was fast losing its Democratic Image. He said India’s democracy was under siege, and that the judiciary and journalism were the last surviving bastions.

The DMK MP Kanimozhi took to twitter to voice her condemnation of the “vengeful action by the motivated forces that lead this”.

She said it set a very bad precedent in the country that was already performing badly in Press Freedom Indices.

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