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BBC Delhi, Mumbai Offices ‘Surveyed’ by I-T Dept, Phones, Laptops Taken Away

I-T officials reportedly landed at the BBC offices over allegations of international taxation and transfer pricing irregularities.
BBC IT survey India

Representational image. | Image courtesy: Flickr

New Delhi: The BBC’s Delhi and Mumbai offices were “surveyed” by the Income Tax (I-T) Department on Tuesday days after its documentary India: The Modi Question, which questioned then-Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 riots, was blocked by the information and broadcast ministry, news reports said quoting official sources.

I-T officials landed at the BBC offices over allegations of international taxation and transfer pricing irregularities involving the media organisation, sources told NDTV.

Around 20 tax officials searched the BBC’s Delhi office. BBC Studios in Mumbai, which deals with production, was surveyed. According to the officials, it was a survey, not a search.

Documents were seized, and the phones and laptops of some journalists were taken away, the sources said. The offices would remain sealed during the survey and employees have been asked not to share details with anyone.

“We needed some clarifications and for that our team is visiting the BBC office. We are carrying out a survey. Our officers are checking account books; these are not searches,” I-T sources said.

Journalist Swati Chaturvedi tweeted that “this would lead to more questions on Modi’s role in the 2002 riots”.

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra tweeted: “Reports of Income Tax raid at BBC’s Delhi office. Wow, really? How unexpected. Meanwhile farsaan seva for Adani when he drops in for a chat with Chairman @SEBI_India office.”


The government has dubbed the documentary “propaganda” devoid of objectivity and reflecting a “colonial mindset” after a Supreme Court (SC)-appointed investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Modi in the riots.

Earlier on Tuesday, Union home minister Amit Shah in an exclusive interview with ANI said, “Conspire as much against the truth as you want, it will come out shining like the sun. These people have been after Modi-ji since 2002. But every time Modi-ji has come out clean and become more popular.”

Last month, the ministry blocked the first episode of the documentary on YouTube and Twitter was asked to block more than 50 tweets containing links to the video on YouTube, sources had told The Indian Express.

Earlier this month, the SC dismissed a petition filed by Hindu Sena chief Vishnu Gupta seeking a complete ban on the documentary and called it “entirely misconceived”. “How can a documentary affect the country?” the court questioned.

Fully Cooperating, Says BBC

London: The BBC said on Tuesday that it is "fully cooperating" with the Income Tax authorities who are at its offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and hoped that the situation will be resolved "as soon as possible", reports PTI.

The British Broadcasting Corporation, the UK-headquartered public broadcaster, did not give further details of what has been described as “surveys” by the I-T department, which reportedly involved local BBC staff being prevented from entering the office premises and their mobile phones being shut down.

"The Income Tax Authorities are currently at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully cooperating,” a BBC spokesperson said in a statement.

“We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible," the spokesperson said.

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