One of India’s largest media houses, the Dainik Bhaskar group is being subject to scrutiny as the income tax department carried out multiple raids in their offices in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi on Thursday morning.
The IT department conducted searches at over 30 locations, including at the news organization’s offices at Bhopal, Indore, Jaipur and Ahmedabad, reports said.
The officials from the IT department remarked that the raids were carried out following the information they obtained that the Dainik Bhaskar Group and its associate companies have allegedly been evading taxes, thus indulging in tax fraud.
Apart from the offices, the IT teams are also investigating the residential premises of the group’s promoters for proof of tax fraud.
“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 (former Union minister) Arun Shourie has said — this is a Modified Emergency.” tweeted Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
Adding to Ramesh’s argument, journalist Rana Ayyub has also tweeted hinting at the possibility of this being a malicious attack by citing Dainik Bhaskar as a testimony to the undercounting of deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also took to condemn the raids, calling it ‘yet another attempt to stifle the democracy’.
The Dainik Bhaskar Group publishes five newspapers with 65 editions in three languages– Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. The news publication has been at the forefront reporting the scale of COVID-19 devastation in the second wave.