The Congress on Thursday slammed the government over IT raids on media houses and said that instead of protecting the nation, central agencies have now begun to act as poachers for intimidating the whistleblowers.
Addressing a press conference, senior leader Abhishek Singhvi said, “The IT raid on Dainik Bhaskar highlights the dangerous, dismissive, and draconian nature of the BJP government.”
“How should we define whatever happened today? There are many words – totalitarianism, tyranny, dictatorship, fascism, authoritarianism, autocracy, despotism, absolutism, caesarism, and so on and so forth,” he added.
He said that the newspaper was raided as its reportage exposed the grisly sight of bodies of Covid victims floating in the Ganga and washing up on the banks in towns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, possibly thrown into the river because of the lack of means to cremate them. The reports also revealed bodies buried in shallow graves by the river in UP.
The Income Tax Department conducted searches at the offices of media entity Dainik Bhaskar at several locations across the country over alleged tax evasion.
According to people in the know, raids were conducted at the Bhopal, Indore, Jaipur and Ahmedabad premises of the Dainik Bhaskar group.
While there was no official word from the department or its policy-making body, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), official sources said the action also involves the promoters of the Dainik Bhaskar group, with operations across multiple states.
Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh said on Twitter that tax officials “are present” at half-a-dozen premises of the group, including at its office at Press Complex in state capital Bhopal.
The Income Tax Department also conducted a search at the offices of Bharat Samachar news channel and the residences of its promoters and Editor-in-Chief.