Income Tax dept raids Dainik Bhaskar media group, ‘Modified Emergency’, says Opposition – ThePrint

[ad_1]

Dainik Bhaskar office
Income Tax officials at Dainik Bhaskar’s office in Bhopal | Twitter | @ANI


Text Size:

New Delhi: The Income Tax department is carrying out raids at multiple offices of media group Dainik Bhaskar.

The search operations are underway at Bhopal and Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), and a few places in Maharashtra.

Sources in the IT department confirmed that the searches were linked to allegations of tax evasion but added that it “was early to divulge further details”.

“These searches are in connection with tax evasion,” a source in the IT department told ThePrint.

While there has been no official statement from the IT department, news agency PTI reported that the searches are being conducted at the offices as well as residences of the promoters.

ThePrint contacted Sudhir Agarwal, Managing Director of Dainik Bhaskar group, for a comment, via calls and messages, but there was no response until the time of publishing this story. The report will be updated once he responds.

Opposition hits out at Modi govt

The Opposition leaders alleged the media group was raided because of its reporting on Covid “mismanagement” by the Modi government.

“Through its reporting Dainik Bhaskar has exposed the Modi regime’s monumental mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now paying the price. An Undeclared Emergency as Arun Shourie has said — this is a Modified Emergency,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted.

Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh called the raids an “attack on journalism”. He also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are using investigative agencies like the Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as weapons against the media. He said income tax officials “are present at half-a-dozen premises” of the media group, including at its office in Bhopal.

 

The Dainik Bhaskar group published a series of articles on the scale of devastation and the massive undercounting of deaths in many states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan during the second wave of the Covid pandemic.

Several social media users tweeted images of the newspaper’s reports on undercounting of the Covid dead, saying the raids were a “result of true journalism”.

 

Dainik Bhaskar was founded by Ramesh Chandra Agarwal in 1958 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Over the years, the group has expanded to 12 states, particularly in the Hindi heartland. It is the largest circulated daily in the country, with 65 editions.

Danik Bhaskar is owned by D.B. Corporation Private Limited with 100% control. D.B. Corporation Private Limited is a listed company whose 69.82% shares are with the promoters and 30.18% shares are with the public.

The group employs around 3,000 journalists across the country and also has a strong network of stringers.


Also read: Counting burning, buried, floating bodies: How Dainik Bhaskar led national coverage on Covid


Raids also at UP TV channel office

Meanwhile, raids are also being conducted at news channel Bharat Samachar’s office in Hazratganj in Lucknow, sources in the IT department said.

Search operations are also underway at the residences of Brajesh Misra, Editor-in-Chief of the channel, and state head Virendra Singh.

“The Income Tax team has been conducting raids here since morning, with the agenda of harassment. Our Editor-in-Chief Brajesh Misra has said that no matter the harassment, Bharat Samachar will always stand with the truth,” the channel said.

ThePrint reached Brajesh Misra for a comment, through calls and messages, but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.

(The report has been updated to add details on raids at TV channel Bharat Samachar in Lucknow.)


Also read: There’s a gap between govt data & reality of India’s Covid deaths. Local media is bridging it


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism