The Income Tax department conducted multi-city raids against Dainik Bhaskar and Bharat Samachar on charges of tax evasion, which is being widely criticised.

Anurag Thakur
news Media Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 18:42

As the Income Tax department carried out multi-city raids against two media organisations on Thursday, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said the agencies are doing their work and there is no interference in it. He also asserted that "one should take complete information and in its absence sometimes many issues come up that are far from the truth..." The Information and Broadcasting Minister was responding to a question on the opposition Congress' charge that the raids were intended to throttle the voice of democracy.

"Agencies are doing their own work and there is no interference...One should take complete information and in its absence sometimes many issues come up that are far from the truth..," he told reporters at a Cabinet briefing. The Income Tax department conducted multi-city raids against two prominent media groups—Dainik Bhaskar and Bharat Samachar— on charges of tax evasion, official sources said.

The searches against Dainik Bhaskar are being conducted in Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Noida and some other locations in the country. The premises of the Uttar Pradesh-based news channel Bharat Samachar and its promoters and staffers were raided in Lucknow, they said. There was no official word from the Income Tax Department or its policy-making body, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), on the raids.

These raids triggered widespread criticism, including from the opposition parties, with Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala earlier accusing the government of attacking the freedom of the press and throttling the voice of democracy through these raids. "Raid-jeevi ji, Cowardly attack on the freedom of the Press! Income tax raids on Dainik Bhaskar's Bhopal, Jaipur and Ahmedabad offices now. You cannot suppress the voice of democracy with "Raid Raj"," he tweeted in Hindi using the hashtag "#RaidOnFreePress".

"How much more will you strangle the media? How much more pressure will the media accept? How long will the powers-that-be fetter the truth," he also said in another tweet, questioning why the TV is still not debating the issue. "No pressures...now the flood of truth will come," Surjewala said.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal also tweeted, "Bhaskar Group published two days ago scathing piece on phone tapping and snooping and also referred to a past incident in Gujarat. IT raids in Ahmadabad , Bhopal etc. Aap chronology samajhiye."

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