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.
Income Tax Officer in BBC office pic.twitter.com/xQUXCovcv1
— Kapil Kumar (@kapilkumaron) February 14, 2023
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.
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.
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”.
EGI is deeply concerned about the IT “surveys” being carried out at the offices of BBC India. Is distressed by the continuing trend of government agencies being used to intimidate and harass news organisations that are critical of ruling establishment. pic.twitter.com/hM7ZkrdOiq
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) February 14, 2023
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.
Timing of the Raids on BBC no more suggests, but establishes, that India is fast losing its Democratic Image. India's Democracy is under seige. Judiciary and Journalism are the last surviving bastions.
We will fight to the last drop of our blood for Indian Democracy!
Jay Hind! pic.twitter.com/12CMqR7ixE
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) February 14, 2023
The DMK MP Kanimozhi took to twitter to voice her condemnation of the “vengeful action by the motivated forces that lead this”.
Raids in BBC Offices is a targeted attack on Press Freedom in the country. Strongly condemn this vengeful action by the motivated forces that lead this. This sets a very bad precedent in the country that is already performing badly in Press Freedom Indices.
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) February 14, 2023
She said it set a very bad precedent in the country that was already performing badly in Press Freedom Indices.