Tax officials from the Income Tax department of India have conducted a survey at the offices of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Delhi and Mumbai on Monday, in connection with allegations of international taxation and transfer pricing irregularities. The survey comes weeks after the controversial documentary series on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by BBC, which was later taken down from public platforms.
During the survey, some documents and phones belonging to the journalists were taken away. However, Income Tax officials have claimed that this was just a survey and not a search, and the phones would be returned after they receive clarifications.
The opposition Congress party has criticized the government, claiming that the authorities are targeting the BBC over the controversial documentary critical of PM Modi. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh commented, "Here we are asking for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani-Hindenburg row, and there the government is hounding BBC. Vinash Kaale Viprit Buddhi (when one is doomed, one makes wrong decisions)."
The BBC's two-part series, "India: The Modi Question," which delved into allegations linked to the 2002 Gujarat riots, has been the subject of controversy and debate in India, with the government blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the documentary under emergency powers granted by the Information Technology Rules, 2021.