Income Tax Department conducts ‘survey’ at BBC offices
On February 14, the Income Tax Department conducted raids on the British Broadcasting Service (BBC) offices in Delhi, Mumbai, and other locations. The reason for the raids is currently unclear, but reports suggest that the IT Department may seal some of the offices of the London-based company. The IT Department is calling the action a “survey.”
During the survey, IT Department officials reportedly asked BBC staff to keep their phones shut. The exact details of the situation are still emerging, but the action against BBC has already prompted reactions from several political figures.
Congress demands JPC probe in Adani issue, slams IT action against BBC
Jairam Ramesh, the Congress party’s General Secretary in-charge of Communications, called for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the Adani issue, pointing out the irony of the situation. “We are demanding a joint parliamentary Committee probe in the Adani issue, and here the government is after BBC. ‘Vinashkale vipreet buddhi’ (when one’s destruction time is near, one goes against his/her brain or stops using it),” he said.
TMC MP Mohua Moitra also criticizes the Centre for the raids
TMC MP Mohua Moitra also criticized the government for the raids, tweeting, “Reports of Income Tax raid at BBC’s Delhi office. Wow, really? How unexpected. Meanwhile farsaan seva for Adani when he drops in for a chat with Chairman of SEBI_India.”
Reports of Income Tax raid at BBC's Delhi office— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) February 14, 2023
Wow, really? How unexpected.
Meanwhile farsaan seva for Adani when he drops in for a chat with Chairman @SEBI_India office.
As of now, BBC has not released an official statement regarding the IT raids at its offices.
The Income Tax Department conducts surveys to gather information and verify whether an organization is complying with tax laws. Such surveys can result in the discovery of tax evasion or other financial irregularities. It is not yet clear if the IT Department’s action against the BBC is related to any specific allegations of wrongdoing.
BBC yet to make an official statement on the matter
The BBC is a global news organization with a significant presence in India. Its offices in Delhi and Mumbai are responsible for covering news and events in the country, and the raids have caused concern among the company’s employees and supporters.
The action against the BBC is just the latest example of the Indian government cracking down on media organizations. In recent years, there have been several instances of journalists facing harassment, arrest, and other forms of retaliation for their reporting.
In 2020, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that “India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job,” citing the use of legal harassment, physical assault, and other tactics to intimidate journalists and restrict press freedom.
The situation has prompted concern among media watchdogs and free speech advocates, who worry that the government’s actions could undermine the independence of India’s media and erode public trust in journalistic institutions.
It remains to be seen what will come of the IT Department’s raids on the BBC offices in India. The BBC has yet to issue an official statement on the matter, and the IT Department has not provided any further details about the nature of its investigation. Overall, Income Tax Department has conducted a ‘survey’ at BBC offices in Delhi, Mumbai, and other places, the reason for which is still unclear. The IT Department officers reportedly asked the BBC staff to keep their phones shut during the survey. The Congress and TMC have criticized the action against BBC, and BBC is yet to make an official statement on the matter.
As the situation continues to unfold, media organizations and free speech advocates will be closely watching to see how the Indian government responds to the concerns raised by the raids on the BBC offices.