Weeks after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has released its documentaries 'India: The Modi Question' that went against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BBC's offices in Delhi and Mumbai had come under the scanner of the Income Tax department as the IT sleuths have stormed the offices and unfolded raids on Tuesday- February 14.
The drama of unprecedented raids has attracted a sharp attention from across the country. The IT officials had held a survey at the offices of the BBC in Mumbai and Delhi. The BBC employees attached to its Delhi office had faced a disruption as it has been reported that their phones have been seized. The employees have also been asked to leave the office and go home early.
Some of the employees who were working in the morning shift were held back at the Delhi office. A major part of them belong to the editorial teams. The employees who are into the afternoon shift were asked to work from home. The employees of a global news network were questioned by the IT sleuths and on the other hand, the IT dpeartment's Delhi team had also monitored the BBC premises in Mumbai's Bandra-Kurla Complex area.
In BBC's another office in Mumbai's Khar, the employees were asked to go home. It has been reported that the IT department has conducted the searches across the BBC's offices over allegations of irregularities in international taxation and transfer pricing. As part of the raids, the department is sifting the documents pertaining to the business operations of the BBC and those related to its Indian unit.
ANI has quoted the sources saying, "Income Tax officials reached BBC's Delhi and Mumbai offices today. 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. The IT officials have said that the survey was an exercise to check the news broadcaster's accounts, and not a raid.
It is pertinent to note that the IT department's survey, which the activists say as a clampdown, has come weeks after the BBC released its two-episode documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which it has said that Modi is enourmoulsy popular and hugely divisive. The documentaries titled 'India: The Modi Question' had delved into the 2002 Gujarat riots that happened when Modi was Gujarat's Chief Minister and revealing the inquiry done by the UK Foreign Office, and accused Modi of directly responsible for the riots, that killed over thousands of people, majority of them were Muslim.
As the documentary had sparked turmoil across the country, the BJP regime invoked its emergency power to roll out an arbitrary clampdown against the BBC documentary. The supporters of Modi and BJP had slammed BBC and now, the BJP government has conducted raids at the BBC's Delhi and Mumbai offices. Soon after the documentary was release, the Union government issued directions to YouTube and Twitter to block videos and posts sharing the link to the documentary. On the other side of the aisle, several political parties and their outfits have screened the documentary across the country.