The Income Tax Department has raided the Delhi office of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Phones of employees have been seized, according to sources. Employees have also been asked to leave the office and go home early.
The Income Tax Department’s Delhi team is also monitoring the BBC premises in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) area. The Income Tax Department is carrying out searches across BBC premises over allegations of irregularities in international taxation and transfer pricing.
The searches are being done as part of tax evasion investigation.
Officials told PTI that department is looking at documents related to the business operations of the company and those related to its Indian arm.
Meanwhile, this searches also comes weeks after Centre blocked the sharing of clips of a BBC documentary that questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during deadly riots in 2002 in the western state of Gujarat.
The government ordered Twitter and YouTube to block any links to the documentary and forbade people from posting snippets on social media, invoking emergency powers under its information technology laws. It labeled the BBC’s documentary as a ‘propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative.’
Meanwhile, UK MP Bob Blackman said the BBC documentary is “completely exaggerated” and does not represent the views of the British government.
Blackman said while speaking to News18, “BBC does not represent views of the British government. The documentary is a hatchet job.” He added the documentary is a “result of poor journalism, is badly researched and completely unjustified.”
Congress has reacted to searches at the BBC office and has called it an “undeclared emergency.”
In a tweet, it wrote “First came the BBC documentary, it was banned. Now IT has raided BBC. undeclared emergency.”
TMC MP Mahua Moitra who has been launching attack on the Union government over the Adani-Hindenburg issue has also commented on the raid at BBC office.
“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 at SEBI office,” she tweeted.