India: Income tax ‘surveys’ at BBC India offices

Survey is lawful and has nothing to do with the government, says ruling BJP spokesman

By AFP

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A police officer stands at the entrance of the office building where tax authorities raided BBC’s office in New Delhi. — AFP
A police officer stands at the entrance of the office building where tax authorities raided BBC’s office in New Delhi. — AFP

Published: Tue 14 Feb 2023, 2:26 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Feb 2023, 5:20 PM

Indian tax authorities surveyed the BBC’s New Delhi and Mumbai offices on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the broadcaster of engaging in “anti-India propaganda” but said the tax officials’ move were lawful and the timing had nothing to do with the government.

“India is a country which gives an opportunity to every organisation,” Gaurav Bhatia told reporters, “as long as you don't spew venom”.

“If you have been following the law of the country, if you have nothing to hide why be afraid of an action that is according to the law?”

In a statement on Twitter, the broadcaster said it was “fully cooperating” with authorities.

“The Income Tax Authorities are currently at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully cooperating,” it said. “We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible.”

Police sealed off the BBC’s New Delhi office, which occupies two floors of a high-rise on a leafy avenue in the capital’s commercial heart.

A New Delhi-based BBC employee said that officials had been “confiscating all phones” during the tax survey.

Last month, the BBC aired a two-part documentary on 2002 sectarian riots in Gujarat state.

Government adviser Kanchan Gupta had slammed the documentary as “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage”.


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