Tax raids unleashed on Dainik Bhaskar, Bharat Samachar media groups

Raids at Dainik Bhaskar premises in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat Maharashtra, Bharat Samachar at Lucknow

Income Tax RaidImage

The Income Tax department is reported to be conducting raids on at the Dainik Bhaskar group’s premises across the country, stated multiple breaking news reports on Thursday, June 22. The raids have been going on since early morning at the media groups premises in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. However, while no official statement has been issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) yet Indian Express, and other media reported that tax officials have confirmed that these searches are now underway. Dainik Bhaskar is one of the largest newspaper groups in the country, and has been read widely for its extensive on ground coverage during the Covid-19 second wave. Its reporters covered the massive death toll across the country, and were one of the few media groups reporting from smaller towns and cities.

Soon after the issue of deaths due to due to acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave was raised in the Rajya Sabha and Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya said no “reports of patients dying due to shortage of oxygen and lack of hospital facilities in the country have been received by the Ministry from any State/UT”, the Dainik Bhaskar once again put out its reports online testifying to death due to lack of oxygen in at least five cities in Madhya Pradesh alone.

Over the next two days, Dainik Bhaskar’s social media handle continued to put out a series of its archival reports that showed a mirror to  the Union Government’s claims of no deaths due to lack of oxygen during the second wave. It has also been following and reporting on the Pegasus spyware scandal as well over the past few days.

Hours after its continued reportage on the two issues was amplified on social media as well, news of the raids by the Income Tax Department started flowing in on various media handles and groups. According to some reports the allegations against the media group include alleged tax evasion. At some of the cities, the searches are also being conducted in connection with a tax evasion case, at multiple locations including Promoters’ residences and offices.

The newspaper had also reported that over two thousand bodies had been found on the banks of the Ganga river, its team had reported from 27 districts, spanning 1140 kms in Uttar Pradesh. The report had flagged that the situation was the worse in  Kanpur, Unnao, Ghazipur and Ballia. Both these reports had got international attention and were followed up by all media outlets in India, and many leading ones abroad.

The paper’s Bhopal edition had also been one of the first to publish an aerial photograph, taken via a drone, of scores of funeral pyres being lit at Bhadbhada Ghat, the city’s largest crematorium, reported NewsLaundry in an analysis of the group’s coverage. The DB had headlined the story thus: “Government data on deaths is a lie, these burning pyres are telling the truth.” htt

image from newslaundry

A few days before that in Gujarat, the Divya Bhaskar called out state BJP president, CR Patil, claiming to give 5,000 remdesivir vials for free to Covid patients when the state, and the country was facing a shortage of the drug. The newspaper made his phone number public after the Chief minister Vijay Rupani told the media ‘to to ask Patil’ when questioned how such a large quantity of the drug was available with the politician when the public was struggling for it. The front page went viral.

image from social media

The raids on the media group have evoked strong reactions from beyond the media fraternity. Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh tweeted that this was “just the beginning. They would go more vindictive as opposition grows Nationally. All should get together to condemn it and fight the ModiShah duo at every level.”


Income Tax raids on Bharat Samachar news channel too

Income Tax raids are also being conducted  at the offices of Uttar Pradesh based news channel Bharat Samachar. According to the channel its Editor-in-Chief Brijesh Mishra’s house has been raided, as has the home of its state head Virendra Singh. These raids too bagan on Thursday morning the channel tweeted. Editor-in-Chief Brijesh Mishra told his team that the media had a Constitutional right to raise questions and that the channel is not going to be intimidated by such actions.



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