Many journalists pointed out that the raids come after Dainik Bhaskar published many articles revealing the lapses by the Union government on the COVID-19 situation.

IT Officials at Dainik Bhaskar office in BhopalTwitter/KashifKakvi
news IT Raids Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 11:03

The Income Tax Department on Thursday, July 22,  raided multiple premises of the media group Dainik Bhaskar at its offices in Madhya Pradesh. According to reports, the searches that began on Thursday morning are being carried out in connection with a tax evasion case.

Dainik Bhaskar’s offices in multiple locations in Madhya Pradesh, including Bhopal and Jabalpur, and the residences and offices of the group’s promoters are being raided. The Hindu reports that raids are also being carried out at the media group’s offices in Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh as well as in Jaipur, Rajasthan and Ahmedabad, Gujarat and in Maharashtra as well. The search team has reached the residence of Bhaskar's promoters including Sudhir Agarwal, Girish and Pawan's house located in Bhopal's Arera Colony. The team is being supported by the Madhya Pradesh Police. The entire operation is being monitored from Delhi and Mumbai Income Tax Headquarters, tweeted Prasar Bharati News Service.

While there was no official word from the department or its policy-making body, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), official sources said the action also involves the promoters of the major Hindi media group with operations across multiple states. 

Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh said on Twitter that tax officials "are present" at half-a-dozen premises of the group, including at its office at Press Complex in state capital Bhopal.

Many journalists pointed out on Twitter that the raids on the media group come after Dainik Bhaskar published many articles revealing the lapses by the government on the COVID-19 situation. Dainik Bhaskar last month had exposed the mismanagement of the COVID-19 situation in Madhya Pradesh and had reported on deaths due to lack of oxygen in Bhopal. The daily had carried the row over the Pegasus snooping allegations on the front page and had also written about COVID-19 victims buried along the Ganga river in Uttar Pradesh and bodies of COVID-19 victims found floating in the river.

According to reports, Income Tax department is also conducting searches on the Hindi news channel Bharat Samachar News and its promoters and Editor-in-Chief. The offices and residences of promoters are being searched, ANI reported. 

Several journalists, opposition leaders and activists have questioned the raids. 

With PTI inputs

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