NEW DELHI — The Income Tax department on Thursday morning conducted raids at the office of news portal ‘The Quint’ in Noida and at the home of its owner and media baron Raghav Bahl. Right now in Mumbai, Bahl told the Editors’ Guild about the raids and expressed his strong concern.
“I have a matter of great concern to share with the Guild. While I was in Mumbai this morning, dozens of IT officials descended on my residence and The Quint’s office for a ‘survey’,” Bahl said in a statement to Editors’ Guild.
Bahl, who is founder of ‘The Quint’ and Network18 group, further said: “We are a fully tax compliant entity, and will provide all access to all appropriate financial documents.”
He said he told the IT officers over phone not to pick or see any email from The Quint office because they may contain sensitive journalist materials.
“If they do that, then we shall seek extremely strong recourse. I do hope the EG (Editor’s Guild) will back us on this, and thereby set a precedent for any such exercise that may happen on any other journalistic entity in the future. They should also not misuse their smartphones to take unauthorised copies of this material,” reads the statement that he shared on his verified Twitter handle.
— Raghav Bahl (@Raghav_Bahl) October 11, 2018
Since its inception a few years ago, Bahl’s The Quint has been doing bold video stories on current politics and policies of the government.
Journalists are expressing concern over the raids.
Senior journalist Shekhar Gupta, who is also founder of news portal ‘The Print’ and also President of Editors’ Guild of India said:
I.T raids on @TheQuint offices and its founder @Raghav_Bahl home are cause for serious concern. Taxman has the right to ask all questions, but raids look like intimidation. If there is justification, govt must explain quickly. Or it will be seen as targeting critical media.
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) October 11, 2018
Journalist and former leader of Aam Aadmi Party said:
After Pranoy Roy, now @Raghav_Bahl is targeted. Raghav is one of the most credible media personalities. Now he is paying the price for being anti-establishment, criticising Modi Govt.
— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) October 11, 2018
Meanwhile, senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta tweeted that similar raids are going on at another media outlet NewsMinute besides at Greenpeace India and Direct Dialogue Initiatives in Bengaluru.
After Income Tax Department raids on Raghav Bahl’s home and offices of Quint in Noida, survey on the office of NewsMinute, Enforcement Directorate raids on Greenpeace India and Direct Dialogue Initiatives in Bengaluru, who is next on the list? Do you see the pattern?
— ParanjoyGuhaThakurta (@paranjoygt) October 11, 2018