BBC responds to Indian tax authorities’ survey

The Income Tax Department in India conducted a survey at the offices of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Mumbai and Delhi on Tuesday, as part of an investigation into alleged tax evasion.

The BBC stated that it was cooperating fully with the tax authorities, and hoped to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

The tax officials’ visit comes less than a month after the BBC released a two-part documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots, which the Indian government dismissed as “propaganda.”

While a Central Board of Direct Taxes official confirmed the survey, a second official added that the tax department was investigating certain matters related to the BBC based on inputs of irregularities, and that only after the completion of the survey would it be known if there were any deliberate irregularities or not.

The I-T Department’s survey covered only the business premises of the BBC, and not the residences or other locations of its directors or promoters.

News of the tax officials’ visit to the BBC offices drew onlookers and media crews in Delhi and Mumbai.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said that the BBC should not “spew venom” while operating in India, and accused the BBC of indulging in anti-India propaganda, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh termed the survey as “intimidation tactics.”

Ramesh said that the action showed that the Narendra Modi government was scared of criticism.

In response, Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal said that the IT raid at BBC’s offices “reeks of desperation” and demonstrated that the Modi government was scared of criticism.

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