Tax raids have been carried out on the offices of a popular Indian newspaper after months of critical coverage of the government’s handling of Code 19 epidemics.
On Thursday morning, more than 100 tax inspectors landed at the Dynak Bhaskar Media Group headquarters in the state of Madhya Pradesh and raided 30 regional offices in Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Homes of several senior executives and promoters of the newspaper were also raided and mobile phones of some employees were seized.
Dynak Bhaskar, published in Hindi, is one of the largest daily newspapers in India with a circulation of over 4 million copies. It produces more than 60 regional editions.
As a result of the devastating second wave of the code in March, Dank Bhaskar provided extensive coverage of the state and central government’s failure to deal with the crisis, including the shortage of oxygen, the shortage of hospital beds and the bodies of thousands of victims. Floats on the Ganges.
Correspondents also spent weeks in crematoriums and hospital morgues counting the dead to cover the death toll.
Dank Bhaskar alleged that in response to his critical reporting, the government pursued the government after allegations of tax evasion. “The government raided the Bhaskar group out of fear of its own coverage of bodies floating in the Ganges during the epidemic,” it said in a statement.
The Press Club of India has said that it “implements such threats by the government through enforcement agencies to curb free media”.
Opposition politicians have condemned the raids and tried to criticize and suppress India. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the raids were a “brave attempt to silence the media”.
Former Minister Jairam Ramesh with the Opposition Congress Party, Tweet“Through his reporting, Dank Bhaskar has exposed the Modi government’s mismanagement of the epidemic of KVID 19. It is now paying the price.
Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and a controversial critic of the government, said: Reported to be taken away. “
Banerjee described the raids as a “steadfast step” aimed at silencing voices that reveal the truth. This is a serious violation of the principles of democracy.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur has denied that the government had any role in allowing desk raids. “Agencies do their own thing, we don’t interfere in their work,” he said.
This is not the first time that organizations and media groups criticizing the Prime Minister’s right-wing Hindu nationalist administration have faced accusations of tax evasion. In 2017, the television news channel NDTV was raided on allegations of financial incompetence. Amnesty International has long been the target of an investigation into alleged illegal foreign funding, and had to suspend operations in India when the government froze its bank accounts last year.
In July, media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders named Modi among the heads of state and government, whom he described as “victims of press freedom.” Under Modi, India has fallen dramatically in the global press freedom index due to the persecution of journalists and news agencies who criticize the government.
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