New Delhi: Raids were conducted by the Income Tax Department on Thursday against two prominent media groups, Dainik Bhaskar and Hindi news channel Bharat Samachar, concerning tax evasion, officials told PTI. The IT department conducted raids at Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Noida, and other locations in connection to the Dainik Bhaskar case while raids were counted on the Bharat Samachar Group in Lucknow.
There was no official word from the department or its policy-making body, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on the raids.
Sources added that the raids on Dainik Bhaskar were also carried out at the residences of the promoters of the media group.
The IT teams in Bhopal were provided security by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Madhya Pradesh police personnel in Chopal.
The two newspapers have been critical of the Covid-19 management of the Centre and have carried out several investigation stories during the second wave of the pandemic.
The Dainik Bhaskar Group on its Twitter handle posted that it is independent and runs according to the will of its readers.
मैं स्वतंत्र हूं, क्योंकि मैं भास्कर हूं
भास्कर में चलेगी सिर्फ पाठकों की मर्जी।#स्वतंत्र_भास्कर @pantlp @Navneet88727599 @OmGaur1 @helloavnish @DevendraBhatn10 @prasoonmishra @upmita @RaviDubey1 pic.twitter.com/WvLoMFc127
— Dainik Bhaskar (@DainikBhaskar) July 22, 2021
Tax sleuths also raided some premises linked to BJP MLA from UP’s Harraiya assembly seat in Basti district Ajay Singh and his associates. It was, however, not immediately clear if the raids on the legislator and the media groups were connected.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh accused the Union government of suppressing the freedom of speech of the press.
“And this is just the beginning. They would go more vindictive as opposition grows Nationally. All should get together to condemn it and fight the ModiShah duo at every level,” he tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also condemned the raids at the media houses.
“Their message is clear that whoever will speak against the BJP government, they will not be spared. Such thinking is very dangerous. Everyone should raise their voice against this,” he said in a tweet.
“These raids should be stopped immediately and the media should be allowed to work freely,” he added.
With inputs from PTI