Income Tax ‘raids’ on BBC offices in India days after documentary on Narendra Modi; British government ‘closely monitoring’ developments

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There are reports of income tax raids on the offices of the BBC in Delhi and Mumbai days after the British public service broadcaster ran a two-part documentary on Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

income tax raids
Photo: BBC

A report by London’s Guardian website said that more than a dozen officials from India’s income tax department visited the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai to conduct a ‘survey.’ Documents and phones of several journalists were also confiscated and the offices sealed. The tax authorities were reportedly carrying out searches on reports of tax evasion by BBC India.

The Editors’ Guild of India called the raids ‘continuation of a trend of using government agencies to intimidate and harass press organizations that are critical of government policies or the ruling establishment.’

While there has been no official statement related to the action, a report by news agency PTI quoted British government sources as saying that they were ‘closely monitoring reports of tax surveys conducted at the offices of the BBC in India.’

The development comes just days after the Indian government banned the two-part documentary critical of Modi for his alleged role in the Gujarat carnage, that left thousands, mostly Muslims, dead.

The film revealed for the first time the outcome of a secret inquiry by the British government holding Modi ‘directly responsible’ for the killings of thousands of Muslims in 2002 ethnic cleansing.



 

A recent editorial by the New York Times slammed the Modi government for its brutal action against journalists critical of its policies. The editorial said that Modi’s misuse of ‘powers to intimidate, censor, silence or punish independent news media,’ put him into the camp of ‘populist and authoritarian leaders.’

“India ranks 11th in the “global impunity index” of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a tally of reporters whose deaths remain unsolved, and in the annual press freedom index published by the organization Reporters Without Borders, India fell to 150 in 2022, its lowest-ever rank out of 180 countries. The United States is 42; Russia is just below India at 155, China 175,” the editorial read.

In a viral video, BBC staff members were seen arguing with a man, who claimed to be a member of the income tax department.

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