Officials on Thursday said that media baron Raghav Bahl’s home in Noida had been raided over alleged tax evasion, reported news agency PTI quoting officials.
Bahl, who founded Network18 had Quint website, has been extremely vocal with his criticism for the Centre’s Narendra Modi government recently. The PTI report said that searches had been carried out at Bahl’s home and offices in Noida near Delhi, in connection with allegations of tax evasion.
He was also reportedly denied a licence to launch a new TV channel by the Modi government.
Journalists have reacted with shock on the latest development. Journalist Shekhar Gupta wrote, “I.T raids on @TheQuint offices and its founder @Raghav_Bahl home are cause for serious concern. Taxman has the right to ask all questions, but raids look like intimidation. If there is justification, govt must explain quickly. Or it will be seen as targeting critical media..”
Reacting to the development, Bahl issued a statement saying that he was concerned by Thursday’s raids at his house and office premises. The statement said, “I have a matter of great concern to share with the Guild. While I was in Mumbai this morning, dozens of IT officials descended on my residence and The Quint’s office for a ‘survey’. We are fully tax compliant entity, and will provide all access to all appropriate financial documents.”
He then went on to say, “However, I have just spoken to the officer on my premises, one Mr Yadav, and requested him , strongly, to not try and puck up or see any other mail/document which is likely to contain very serious/sensitive journalistic material. If they do that, then we shall seek extremely strong recourse. I hope that the EG will back us on this, and thereby set a precedent for any such exercise that may happen on any other journalistic entity in the future.
“They should also not misuse their smartphones to take unauthorised copies of this material. I am now on my way back to Delhi.”
— Gargi Rawat (@GargiRawat) October 11, 2018
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) October 11, 2018
After Pranoy Roy, now @Raghav_Bahl is targeted. Raghav is one of the most credible media personalities. Now he is paying the price for being anti-establishment, criticising Modi Govt.
— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) October 11, 2018
IT raids at @TheQuint founder Raghav Bahl premises at Noida: Sources
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) October 11, 2018