The Income Tax Department on Thursday conducted multiple raids against media organisation Dainik Bhaskar over alleged tax fraud. Officials said searches are being conducted in Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and a number of other locations in the country.
So far, there has been no official statement on the raids from the IT department, or its policy-making body - the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). However, news agency PTI quoted official sources saying that the department was also conducting raids against promoters of the Hindi media group across multiple states.
Around 100 officials conducted searches in some 30 locations of Dainik Bhaskar, NDTV reported. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Madhya Pradesh police personnel were seen providing security to the IT teams in Bhopal.
Meanwhile, the IT Department also conducted raids against Uttar Pradesh-based Bharat Samachar news channel as well as its promoters and editor-in-chief. Officials searched the company's Lucknow office and the editor's home to examine tax-related documents.
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 74-year-old launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the raids, saying, "this is just the beginning".
"They would go more vindictive as opposition grows Nationally. All should get together to condemn it and fight the ModiShah duo at every level," he tweeted.
A number of other leaders from the Congress and other opposition parties also condemned PM Modi and the ruling BJP over the raids, which they said was being conducted because the Dainik Bhaskar accurately reported on the ground reality during the second wave of COVID-19.