Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, on 11 October, called the I-T raids at The Quint’s premises “an undeclared emergency” on press freedom and “an attempt to suppress independent and dissenting voices.”
Speaking to The Quint, he said:
“Let me warn Modi government that it is an undeclared emergency and you have broken all records of decency by entering the newsroom of The Quint. You may continue to suppress and subjugate but you will not be able to suppress the voice of the press, especially independent ones like The Quint, and of those journalists who do a fearless duty to the nation.”
Alleging that the Modi government was “perturbed” with The Quint’s coverage of Mediapart’s expose on the Rafale deal, he said, “As The Quint exposed the story, government panicked and raided not only the residence of Raghav Bahl but also the media office of The Quint.”
Calling it the “worst kind of censorship through misuse of agencies like Income Tax, ED and CBI,” Surjewala said, “Never in the history of India has the IT, ED and CBI been misused in this manner to intimidate and suppress independent and dissenting voices.”
On the question of the changing stance of Income Tax officials who initially called the raid a “survey” and then termed it a “search”, Surjewala said, “They are getting diktats from the BJP headquarters and from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Everytime they get fresh instructions from the political masters the I-T department changes its stance.”
Income Tax officers on Thursday, 11 October entered the office of Quintillion Media Pvt Ltd in Noida, which runs the website The Quint and is owned by Raghav Bahl. According to the I-T officer leading the team, they are conducting a “search” on one floor of the office, and a “survey” on the other.
I-T officers are also present at the residence of The Quint’s Editor-in-Chief Raghav Bahl and CEO Ritu Kapur, and the office of Quintype (another company within the same corporate group), and are also conducting a survey at The News Minute (which Quintillion Media holds a stake in) in Bengaluru.