I-T raids on Dainik Bhaskar: Anurag Thakur denies govt interference, says ‘agencies are doing their job’

Hours after the Income Tax department carried out multi-city raids against the media group Dainik Bhaskar over alleged tax evasion, Union minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said the agencies are doing their work and there is no interference in it.

“Agencies are doing their own work and there is no interference…One should take complete information and in its absence sometimes many issues come up that are far from the truth..,” the Information and Broadcasting Minister said while addressing a cabinet briefing.

While responding to a query on the opposition Congress’ charge that the raids were intended to throttle the voice of democracy, Thakur stated that “one should take complete information and in its absence sometimes many issues come up that are far from the truth…”

Earlier in the day, the I-T department conducted raids against Dainik Bhaskar in multiple cities over alleged tax evasion, the officials said. The searches were conducted across several locations in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

Following this, Dainik Bhaskar posted a message on its website stating the government raids have come against it as it put out the “true picture of the government’s inefficiency before the country during the second wave of Covid-19.” It said the raids were carried out at residences of many staffers. The mobile phones of those present in the offices were seized and they were not being allowed to go out.

“Officials involved in the raids said this was part of the process and they will be released after panchmana proceedings are done,” the site said.

Dainik Bhaskar group had done a series of stories on the deaths in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and bodies being dumped along the river Ganga.

Several opposition leaders came out in support of the media house and criticised the Centre, accusing it of trying to stifle the voice of media. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the media house is “paying the price” for its coverage during the pandemic.

Calling the I-T department raids against media group Dainik Bhaskar an attempt to intimidate the media, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that a clear message that anyone who speaks out against the BJP government will not be spared is being sent out.

Meanwhile, Bharat Samachar TV, another news channel, tweeted that searches were being conducted at the “house of its Editor-in-chief Brajesh Mishra, state head Virendra Singh, houses of some employees and the channel office.”

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