New Delhi: The Income Tax department raids several premises of the media group, Dainik Bhaskar, including – Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and some other locations in the country, this morning. The taxmen searched 35 locations of Dainik Bhaskar in connection with tax evasion case, at multiple locations including -Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The homes and offices of the group’s promoters were also raided, as per reports.
A senior editor of Dainik Bhaskar told that raids were on at the group’s Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Indore offices.
An Uttar Pradesh television channel, Bharat Samachar, was also raided. An Income Tax team searched the Lucknow office and also the editor’s home to examine tax documents, according to sources.
The sources claimed the raids were based on “conclusive evidence of tax fraud” by the channel. Bharat Samachar’s recent reporting has been critical of the UP government.
The opposition alleged that the raids were linked to reports on Covid “mismanagement” by the government. “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 Arun Shourie has said – this is a Modified Emergency,” tweeted Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
One of the largest newspaper groups in the country, the Dainik Bhaskar was at the forefront of reporting on the scale of devastation in the second wave of Covid in April-May.
Dainik Bhaskar put out a series of reports that took a critical look at official claims during the pandemic as raging infections left people desperate for oxygen, hospital beds and vaccine.
Its reportage exposed the grisly sight of bodies of Covid victims floating in the river Ganga and washing up on the banks of towns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, possibly discarded because of the lack of means to cremate them. The reports also revealed bodies buried in shallow graves by the river in UP.
The New York Times had, a month ago, published Dainik Bhaskar editor Om Gaur’s op-ed on Covid deaths in India, titled: “The Ganges Is Returning the Dead. It Does Not Lie.” The opinion piece was extremely critical of the government’s handling of the coronavirus peak. The holiest of India’s rivers “became Exhibit A for the Modi administration’s failures and deceptions”, he wrote.