Indian tax officers raid newspaper that took on Narendra Modi over the pandemic

2021-07-22 19:25:24

The newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar, mentioned that tax inspectors visited its places of work within the capital New Delhi and the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan within the early morning.

The paper shocked India with its reporting of lifeless our bodies within the river Ganges through the brutal second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic this spring. It criticized authorities for under-reporting Covid-19 deaths and challenged state officers and the federal government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over their dealing with of the disaster.

“The federal government has clamped down on the group that represented an correct image of what occurred to the nation through the second wave of Covid-19,” the paper wrote in a report on the tax raid revealed Thursday on the homepage of its Hindi version. The 63-year-old firm additionally publishes newspapers in Gujarati and Marathi languages.

In its report, the paper added that tax officers additionally raided the properties of a number of Dainik Bhaskar workers, and seized the telephones of those that have been current in its places of work.

“The federal government is doing its job, and we’re doing our job,” Om Gaur, the nationwide editor at Dainik Bhaskar informed CNN Enterprise. “The reality is all the time bitter, however we crosscheck all our details earlier than publishing,”

In Could, Gaur had led the paper’s protection of corpses floating within the Ganges, because the official loss of life toll from Covid-19 started crossing 4,000 a day. Nonetheless, each Indian and worldwide consultants say that these numbers don’t present the true image.

Security personnel at the residence of Sudhir Agrawal, managing director of Dainik Bhaskar, which was raided Thursday by Indian tax authorities.
A working paper revealed this week by the US-based Middle for World Improvement discovered that the variety of extra deaths throughout India’s pandemic might be as much as ten instances the official toll.

Between 3.4 million and 4.9 million estimated extra deaths have been reported in India between January 2020 and June 2021, the US assume tank mentioned — in comparison with the Indian well being ministry’s reported loss of life toll of roughly 400,000.

“State officers have tried to cease our protection a number of instances previously few days, and have even threatened us with a court docket case,” Gaur had informed CNN Enterprise in Could.

A spokesperson for the Central Board of Direct Taxes didn’t reply to a request for remark from CNN Enterprise. However a number of prime opposition politicians mentioned that the paper was being punished for publishing vital reviews about Modi’s dealing with of the second wave.

“No person would have thought the Modi authorities can be so scared, ” the nationwide opposition social gathering, Congress, tweeted in response to the raid.
“The assault on journalists & media homes is yet one more BRUTAL try and stifle democracy,” wrote Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of the state of West Bengal and chief of a regional opposition social gathering, in a Twitter publish. “#DainikBhaskar bravely reported the way in which @narendramodi ji mishandled your entire #COVID disaster and led the nation to its most horrifying days amid a raging pandemic.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who’s from a smaller opposition social gathering, mentioned that the raids have been a transparent sign that Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Celebration is not going to forgive those that problem it.

“It is a very harmful mind-set,” he added in a tweet in Hindi. Kejriwal additionally retweeted a publish from Dainik Bhaskar’s account which mentioned “I’m Unbiased.”
The Press Membership of India, in the meantime, mentioned it “deplores such acts of intimidation by the federal government by way of enforcement businesses to discourage the unbiased media from discharging their obligation to serve the society.”
In accordance with Reporters With out Borders, India is likely one of the world’s most harmful international locations for journalists “making an attempt to do their job correctly.” It ranks India 142 out of 180 international locations on its World Press Freedom Index.
In 2017, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation raided the places of work and houses of founders of NDTV, a prime broadcaster that’s typically seen as vital of Modi authorities. The company mentioned that it was investigating a financial institution mortgage, whereas NDTV had known as it an try and undermine “democracy and free speech in India.”


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Supply by [tellusdaily.com]