Officers of the Income Tax department visited the offices of Quintillion Media Pvt Ltd in Noida, which runs the website The Quint and is owned by the media baron Raghav Bahl. Bahl’s house is also being searched by officers.
A statement put out by Raghav Bahl, 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 a fully tax compliant entity, and will provide all access to all appropriate financial documents. However, I have just spoken to the officer on my premises, one Mr Yadav, and requested him, strongly, to not try and pick 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 do hope 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. Warm regards. Raghav."
Quintillion is also an investor in The News Minute, and officers from the department also visited TNM’s office in Bengaluru. Officers at TNM office said that the visit was a ‘survey’ under Section 133a of the IT Act, and not a search or a raid. The officers asked for financial documents and audit books to be shown to them.
“We are complying with the requests of the officers at our premises,” said Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief, The News Minute.