‘Throttling freedom of expression…’ DMK MP condemns IT raid at BBC offices

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CHENNAI: Condemning the ongoing Income Tax ‘survey’ at the BBC offices in Delhi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Senthilkumar S on Monday accused the central government of throttling the fundamental right of ‘freedom of expression’.

Taking to Twitter, the Dharmapuri MP said, “Strongly condemn the raids at BBC @BBCIndia office Delhi. This is throttling the freedom of expression and particularly the press. This government is hitting back for release of BBC Gujarat riots documentary. The 56-inch chest has started to feel the heat. Downfall starts.”

Earlier in the day, former Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Uttam Kumar Reddy said that this survey, carried out by I-T department officials at the offices of BBC in Delhi and Mumbai will malign the country’s image throughout the world.

“The Income Tax department survey, searches or raids, on the offices of BBC in Delhi and Bombay will reflect India in a very poor light internationally,” he told ANI.

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 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 IT 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 have been 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.

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. (ANI)

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