The move against the mainstream Hindi-language daily Dainik Bhaskar and the Bharat Samachar television channel is attracting criticism.
Indian tax authorities have raided a major newspaper and TV channel that have been critical of the government’s management of the coronavirus pandemic, sparking accusations of intimidation.
There has been no official comment from the authorities on Thursday’s races against the Hindi-language daily Dainik Bhaskar and the Bharat Samachar station.
Local media reported that the tax department has launched search operations in various places, including in the capital, New Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra states. They cited unnamed tax officials as saying they had “conclusive evidence of fraud.”
Boasting a millionaire reader, Bhaskar brought a series of reports on the devastation caused by the pandemic in April and May and criticized the management of the crisis by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On the front page of its website, a headline said the government’s move was due to its fear of “true journalism” and stressed that the media had sought to “maintain the correct number of pandemic deaths”. of coronavirus in front of the country ”.
“It simply came to our notice then [throwing] corpses in the Ganges or … hiding the dead because of the crown[virus], Bhaskar has demonstrated fearless journalism, ”he said.
Most experts believe that India’s official death toll of more than 414,000 is a vast understatement, but the government has dismissed those concerns as exaggerated and misleading.
The more complete search Yet, on the aftermath of the pandemic that erupted on Tuesday, they said the country’s excess of deaths could be 10 times the official death toll, probably becoming the worst human tragedy in modern India.
“Not an iota of criticism”
The Modi government has long been accused of trying to stifle critical relations in the world’s largest democracy, something it denies. On Reporters Without Borders ’2021 Press Freedom Index, India is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries.
Ashok Gehlot, the chief minister of the state of Rajasthan, said the races were a shameful attempt to suppress the media.
“The Modi government cannot tolerate even one point of its criticism,” Gehlot, who is from the main opposition Congress party, wrote on Twitter.
Modi era accused Tuesday by the Congress party of “betrayal” and compromising national security after revelations that dozens of Indians were potential targets of snooping from Israeli-made Pegasus spyware.
It came on the back of a mayo investigation published Sunday by a consortium of media organizations.
The leaked list, shared with the media by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based nonprofit newspaper, and rights group Amnesty International, showed the identities of the targeted people with more than 300 of these phone numbers in India , including politicians, dozens of journalists, businessmen and even two Modi government ministers.
Arfa Khanum Sherwani, a senior editor of The Wire publication, said on Twitter that the raids against the shops are “without a doubt the first major impact of Pegasus Expose,” showing how “nervous the government is.”
First they attacked Dainik Bhaskar and now Bharat Samachar of UP, the last Hindi News organization who spoke truth to power.
This is without a doubt the first major impact of Pegasus Expose and how nervous the Govt is.
Jab jab ye sarkar darti hai, Agencies ko aage karti hai ..
– Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) July 22, 2021