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Income Tax Department Officials Leave BBC India Offices After 60 Hours of Search

Meanwhile, the BBC said that some of their staff members faced "lengthy questioning."

Updated
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After 60 hours of search, the Income Tax Department's 'survey' of BBC India offices in New Delhi and Mumbai concluded on Thursday night, 16 February.

The latest: "The Income Tax Authorities have left our offices in Delhi and Mumbai. We will continue to cooperate with the authorities and hope matters are resolved as soon as possible," BBC's press team tweeted.

  • There has been no official response from the authorities yet.

  • The UK government is yet to officially comment on the matter.

  • The United States reiterated its support of "the importance of free press around the world" in the context of the I-T search.

Meanwhile, the BBC also said that some of their staff members faced "lengthy questioning."

  • "We are supporting staff – some of whom have faced lengthy questioning or been required to stay overnight – and their welfare is our priority. Our output is back to normal and we remain committed to serving our audiences in India and beyond," it added.

Why it matters: The searches comes in the backdrop of a controversy surrounding a two-part documentary by the BBC that focused on Prime Minister Modi and his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Meanwhile, the BBC said that some of their staff members faced "lengthy questioning."

New Delhi: Income Tax sleuths leave the BBCs Delhi office after their survey operation, conducted as part of a tax evasion investigation, in New Delhi, Thursday, 16 February.

(Photo: PTI)

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Catch up quick: The I-T department conducted 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 were 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.

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Between the lines: Without mentioning BBC by name, India's Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar reportedly said the following in an event held at his residence on Wednesday, 15 February.

  • "In the last decade or so, a narrative was set afloat by a global news house, that seeks to lay claim on its own reputation, that someone possessed weapons of mass destruction and, therefore, it’s a just cause for the humanity to take on. Things happened. No WMDs were found," Dhankar said.

  • Now, when India is on the rise, sinister designs are there to set afloat a narrative by free fall of information. We have to be alert,” he added.

  • BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia had labelled the BBC as the "most corrupt" organisation in the world.

Flip side: The Editor's Guild of India (EGI) expressed "deep concern" over the searches.

  • "This comes soon after the release of two documentaries by the BBC, on the 2002 violence in Gujarat and the current status of the minorities in India. The documentaries stirred political waters, with the government criticising the BBC for wrong and prejudiced reportage on the Gujarat violence, and attempting to ban online access and viewing of the films in India," the EGI statement read.

  • Opposition parties, including the Congress, have denounced the I-T 'survey' operation.

(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   I-T Department 

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