Kavitha takes dig at Centre over I-T surveys on BBC offices

Hyderabad: Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha on Tuesday took an apparent jibe at the Centre over the I-T survey conducted at BBC offices, located in Delhi, Mumbai, just weeks after the UK-based broadcaster aired a documentary on PM Modi.

Taking to Twitter, Telangana CM’s daughter said, “The entire ruling Government defends against probe amidst allegation on one business house and the same Government sends its agencies behind those who show the truth! Why?”

The I-T surveys conducted at BBC offices have drawn sharp reactions from several opposition leaders, including from J-K former CM Farooq Abdullah.

While reacting to the episode, Abdullah said, “Democracy is already under threat here and media is being suppressed and this raid on BBC is an addition to this.”

The former Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Uttam Kumar Reddy said that this operation, carried out by officials of the I-T department, will malign the country’s image throughout the world.

Earlier this morning, Income Tax officials arrived at BBC offices located at the national capital’s KG Marg for the survey. The British broadcaster’s office at Kalina Santacruz in Mumbai was also surveyed, sources said adding that the survey was limited to the business premises of BBC only.

According to reports, a team of IT officials arrived at the BBC Studios office in Kalina Santacruz around 11.30 am today and a survey has been going on since then. There is no I-T activity at the BBC News office at Linking Road Bandra West.

It is learnt that the tax officials are conducting verification of certain account documents in the finance department of the BBC offices.

During the investigation, the mobile phones of all the employees present in the BBC office were taken away by the Income Tax team. The data of the computer kept in the accounts and finance department was also scanned. According to sources, officials said the devices will be returned to their owners after taking a backup.

However, as the survey was underway, the British public broadcaster BBC News released a statement, saying that it is cooperating with the Income Tax department, which is conducting a survey at its offices in New Delhi and Mumbai.

“The Income Tax Authorities are currently at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully cooperating,” the BBC News Press Team said in a statement.

The searches come weeks after the BBC released a documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi – ‘India: The Modi Question,” which caused controversy on January 21. The Centre had issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the controversial BBC documentary on PM Modi. The Supreme Court had on February 3 directed the central government to produce original records relating to its decision to block the BBC documentary.

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