The Income Tax Department on Thursday conducted raids against the media group Dainik Bhaskar in multiple cities over alleged tax evasion, officials said.
The searches are being conducted across several locations in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.
No official statement has been issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) yet but tax officials confirmed that the searches are underway.
In a message posted on its website, Dainik Bhaskar said the government raids have come against it as it put out the “true picture of the government’s inefficiency before the country during the second wave of Covid-19.”
It said the raids were carried out at residences of many staffers, they seized the mobile phones of those present in the offices and they were not being allowed to go out. “Officials involved in the raids said this was part of the process and they will be released after panchmana proceedings are done,” it said.
Dainik Bhaskar group had done a series of stories on the deaths in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and bodies being dumped along the river Ganga.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the raids an “attempt to scare the media.” “The message is clear – those who speak against the BJP government will not be spared. Such thinking is very dangerous. Everyone should raise their voice against it,” he tweeted.
Now, the group and its staffers are putting forward a notice on Twitter saying, 'Journalists are free, whatever readers wants to read, we report'.