Agents from India’s Income Tax Department have raided the premises of Hindi-language news daily Dainik Bhaskar, and the Bharat Samachar tv channel due to alleged fraud.
Both the Dainik Bhaskar and the Bharat Samachar are known critics of the Modi government and have extensively reported on the government’s management of the pandemic.
Tax teams searched the offices of Dainik Bhaskar across Uttar Pradesh the homes of its sponsors while the Lucknow office of Bharat Samachar and its editor’s home were also raided.
The Indian Tax Department has not explained the reasons for the raids but searches are conducted on suspicions of tax evasion and alleged cases of related party transactions and instances of round-tripping of funds.
“We are not afraid of these raids… we stand by the truth and the 240 million people of Uttar Pradesh,” said Brijesh Mishra, editor in chief of Bharat Samachar.
Ashok Gehlot, chief minister of the northern state of Rajasthan, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the raids were an attempt to intimidate the media.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh accused the Modi government of attacking journalists and that it is their only weapon.