In the midst of ongoing raids at the BBC's (British Broadcasting Corporation) offices in Delhi and Mumbai conducted by the Income Tax department, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said that no one is above law and the IT department will share an official statement after the raids. The unprecedented raids at the BBC's offices are being seen as a brazen attack on the broadcaster for releasing documentaries against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
When the opposition parties and the journalistic bodies are slamming the centre for what it called surveys, the BJP regime has been reacting to the criticisms with the saffron party claiming BBC as a corrupt organisation and that its documentary 'India: The Modi Question' is a part of anti-Modi plot. Addressing the reporters in Mumbai, Union Minister of Youth, Sports Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said that the IT department will share the details after the raids.
He said, "When the surveys are over, it issues a press note or holds a press briefing to share information. I believe that when the IT department will complete its survey, it will share details with you." "No one can be above the law of the country", Thakur added. The sleuts of the Income Tax department had stormed the BBC's offices in Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday. In a closely-watch raid, the IT department has said that the searches across the BBC's offices are conducted over allegations of irregularities in international taxation and transfer pricing.
ANI has quoted the sources saying that the Income Tax officials reached BBC's Delhi and Mumbai offices today (Tuesday). They are doing verification of certain documents in the Account of Finance Department of the BBC. Department has impounded a few mobile phones, laptops, and desktops of the employees of account and finance departments. In the midst of criticisms from the opposition parties and the journalistic bodies, the raids are underway for the second straight day on Wednesday.
The officials said that the IT sleuths are in the process of making copies of electronic and paper-based financial data of the organisation. An official in the know had said that the raids could be linked to Tax Deduction at Source (TDS), foreign taxation and there could be several issues. The raids are still ongoing and that the department will be issuing an official statement after the raids.
As the events have made headlines, the BBC put out its first response on Tuesday amidst the searches and tweeted, "The Income Tax Authorities are currently at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully cooperating. We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible." One of India's top journalistic bodies, Editor Guild of India said that it is deeply concerned about Income Tax surveys at offices of BBC India. The agency has called the searches as continuation of trend of using government agencies to intimidate and harass media outlets critical of ruling establishment.