Need fair probe over IT raids on Dainik Bhaskar, Bharat Samachar: Noida journalists' body

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Noida, Jul 22 (PTI) The Income Tax raids on offices of the Dainik Bhaskar group and TV channel Bharat Samachar has sent out a 'negative message', the Noida Media Club said on Thursday and called for a 'fair probe' into the matter.

The IT Department conducted raids across several states against prominent media group Dainik Bhaskar as well as Uttar Pradesh-based TV channel Bharat Samachar for alleged tax evasion, sources said.

The raids against the multi-media Dainik Bhaskar group, which has a presence in 12 states and runs newspapers as well as operates radio stations, web portals and mobile phone apps, were taking place in 30 locations, including Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Noida, they said.

'A negative message has gone out in the media world over the raids on Dainik Bhaskar group and Bharat Samachar news channel by the Income Tax Department. This has angered the journalists. We demand a fair probe into the matter,' the Noida Media Club, a non-profit organization of media professionals in Noida and Delhi NCR, tweeted.

Both Dainik Bhaskar and Bharat Samachar have been critical of the COVID-19 management in the country and done numerous stories highlighting the failings of authorities and the distress of people during the second wave of the pandemic.

There was no official word from the Income Tax Department or its policy-making body, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), on the searches targeting the promoters and staffers of Dainik Bhaskar, and Bharat Samachar even as the matter evoked sharp criticism.

The issue was raised in Rajya Sabha. It also came in for wide condemnation from several leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Rajasthan's Ashok Gehlot and Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal. PTI KIS KJ

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