I-T Department's Search of BBC India Offices Stretches Into Day 2: Key Points

The searches come on the heels of a controversy surrounding a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Modi.

2 min read
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The search of BBC India offices by Indian income tax authorities is still in progress almost a day later, according to sources.

In a nutshell: The I-T department has been conducting searches at the Delhi and Mumbai offices of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) since Tuesday, 14 February.

  • The BBC office is in the HT House building located on Delhi's KG Marg Road

  • Officials are also at the news organisation's office premises in Mumbai

  • BBC India employees were asked to hand over their phones to the I-T Department officials, sources told The Quint

Why it matters: The searches come on the heels of a controversy surrounding a two-part documentary by the broadcaster focusing on Prime Minister Modi and his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Yes, but: The I-T department investigation pertains to "tax evasion" and the relevant business documents are being inspected, officials reportedly told news agency PTI.

"The Income Tax Authorities are currently at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully cooperating. We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible," the BBC News Press Team handle tweeted.

Opposition parties reacted to Tuesday's development:

  • TMC MP Mahua Moitra tweeted with sarcasm, "Reports of Income Tax raid at BBC's Delhi office. Wow, really? How unexpected."

  • Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, "While we are demanding a JPC on Adani, the government is after BBC."

  • Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav posted, "News of raids on BBC is declaration of an 'ideological emergency'."

  • Mehbooba Mufti of J&K's PDP said, "Cause & effect of raids on the BBC Office is quite obvious. GOI is brazenly hounding those who speak the truth. Be it opposition leaders, media, activists or anyone else for that matter. The gloves are off & there is a price one pays for fighting for truth."

Some context: While the documentary titled India: The Modi Question was not made available by BBC in the country, links were posted on various social media platforms.

  • Then, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting directed Youtube and Twitter to remove links to BBC’s documentary

  • The ministry exercised its emergency powers under Rule 16 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021

In the courtroom: A petition seeking a ban on BBC's operations in India was recently heard by the Supreme Court of India.

  • Stating that the petition is "absolutely misconceived," the apex court dismissed the plea


On campuses: Despite the government's blocking orders, students at Indian universities attempted to hold screenings of the documentary.

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students alleged that the power was cut off and stones pelted ahead of a screening

  • Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University students were detained prior to screenings being held

  • The Students Federation of India (SFI) organised a screening of the controversial documentary at the University of Hyderabad (UoH)

  • Screenings were also held at several universities across Kerala

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  BBC documentary   BBC   What We Know 

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