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Tax Raids At Media Group Dainik Bhaskar, Also At UP Channel


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Media group Dainik Bhaskar and an Uttar Pradesh-based news channel were raided today by Income Tax officials who launched searches in their offices across the country around 5.30 am. Both have been accused of tax evasion and floating shell companies in a statement released to news agency ANI by government sources.

Raids took place at over 30 locations of Dainik Bhaskar in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The homes and offices of the group's promoters were also raided.

Uttar Pradesh TV channel Bharat Samachars offices in Lucknow and the home of its editor were also searched. The raids were based on "conclusive evidence of tax fraud" by the channel, said officials.

Both the media houses had recently put out reports critical of the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, particularly the second wave of Covid that swept through India in April-May.

Dainik Bhaskar Editor Om Gaur told NDTV that the raids were a surprise and an obvious attempt to suppress independent journalism.

"We won't give in to pressure. We will stick to our journalism," Mr Gaur said.

The New York Times had, a month ago, published Mr Gaur's op-ed on Covid deaths in India, titled: "The Ganges Is Returning the Dead. It Does Not Lie." The holiest of India's rivers "became Exhibit A for the Modi administration's failures and deceptions", he wrote.

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's reports investigated 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.


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