I am a passionate writer and believe in the power of the social media to bring about social change – it is the small things that each one of us add that contribute to the bigger picture.
With Income Tax raids at The Quint office in Noida and its founder Raghav Bahl’s home in the morning, it appears like the raids are across India are on voices that dissent with the current government. Income tax officers also visited The News Minute (TNM) office in Bangalore – notably Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media Pvt Ltd is one of the investors. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided Direct Dialogue Initiatives’ premises in Bangalore alleging that the company used Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) funds for Greenpeace India Society.
Income Tax officials entered the office of The Quint on October 11 and Raghav Bahl’s home. As per Bloomberg Quint, IT officer leading the team said they were conducting a search on one floor and survey on another floor.
In a statement to the Editor’s Guild, Raghav Bahl has said:
“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”. We are a fully tax compliant entity, and will provide all access to all appropriate financial documents. However, I have just spoken to the officer on my premises, one Mr Yadav, and requested him, strongly, to not try and pick up or see any other mail/document which is likely to contain very serious/sensitive journalistic material. If they do that, then we shall seek extremely strong recourse. I do hope the EG 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. I am now on my way back to Delhi.”
Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief of The News Minute said:
“We are complying with the requests of the officers at our premises.”
During a search, anything from the search premises can be taken away but a survey doesn’t allow that. But it is being reported that data from the Quint’s editor-in-chief Ritu Kapoor gadgets are being cloned.
IT officers are trying to clone data from @kapur_ritu's gadgets. When she screamed and asked me about the law of privacy and whether they can clone her journalistic and personal material, while I was standing outside her residence, two IT officers pulled her inside the house.
— Poonam Agarwal (@poonamjourno) October 11, 2018
Greenpeace India which has earlier been accused of ‘anti-national activities’ by the current government was also raided in the morning by ‘Enforcement Directorate’. ED claims they have found important evidence of corruption against Greenpeace, the non-governmental environmental organisation and accused Greenpeace of accepting foreign direct investments in violation of the law. In relation to the same, ED raided a private company ”Direct Dialogue Initiatives” and are claiming that the private company (which received FDI) diverted its fund to the NGO.
As per The Hindu, Greenpeace said:
Greenpeace India unequivocally asserts that the organization is funded by hundreds of individual Indian citizens. Not a single rupee is foreign-funded. Greenpeace India works with its supporters’ donations to run campaigns on the critical and urgent issue of climate change including the right to clean air, right to safe food and access to renewable energy.
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said this was an attempt to silence media:
“They (The BJP government) will raid, harass, attack and suppress. That’s their agenda… The government is trying to suppress the media.”
Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta sees it a part of a trend to curb any dissent.
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
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