Day 2 of IT ‘Survey’ at BBC Offices Delhi and Mumbai
NEW DELHI: The apparently called ‘Survey’ continued at the British news broadcaster offices in New Delhi and Mumbai on Wednesday as well.
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), in an email to employees, urged all but its broadcast department to work from home. “Employees can refrain from answering questions on personal income if asked so. They should answer other salary-related queries,” said the broadcaster, advising its staff to cooperate with the officials and “answer questions comprehensively”.
According to sources the search ny the taxmen that began on Tuesday morning will focus on on accounts and question the senior management of the British media agency today. They added that the IT sleuths were investigating allegations of unauthorized tax benefits, tax evasion, “significant” diversion of profits and non-compliance of rules by the BBC.
Several opposition parties accused the government of targeting the BBC for a two-part series that was critical of PM Modi over the riots that swept Gujarat in 2002, when he was Chief Minister. The Editors’ Guild of India said the raids were part of a wider “trend of using government agencies to intimidate or harass press organisations that are critical of government policies”.
Meanwhile, the UK government said it is “closely monitoring” the enquiries against the broadcaster as the survey continues.
The BBC said it is fully cooperating with tax authorities.
“The Income Tax authorities are currently at offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully cooperating. We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible,” the press office of the BBC said on Twitter.
At the ‘survey’ that began at 11am on Tuesday, electronic equipment on the premises into custody by the taxmen and the mobile phones of the employees were checked. The mobile phones of the employees working at the Delhi office were seized and they were asked to go home. Those working on the afternoon shift were asked to work from home.The IT officials searched for four keywords on the systems including shell company, fund transfer and foreign transfer, sources told.