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IT raids Dainik Bhaskar, India's largest circulating newspaper: Strong outcry against government

One of India's largest media houses, the Dainik Bhaskar group, has come under the scanner of the tax department. The Dainik Bhaskar group has been accused of tax evasion, says the IT department.

The income tax department launched extensive search operations and conducted raids at multiple locations, including Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

More than 30 premises, including offices and residential premises of the promoters of the group, were being raided/searched by over 100 taxmen in a joint exercise launched on Thursday morning.

In Bhopal, IT personnel also searched the residence of Sudhir Aggarwal, the Bhaskar group's promoter. The taxmen have seized mobiles of the employees and are not allowed to go out. An Uttar Pradesh television channel, Bharat Samachar, was also raided.

IT department said that the raids were being carried out following a tip-off about alleged tax evasions by the group and its various companies, the newspaper group said that the raid was an outcome of its aggressive reporting, especially during the second wave of pandemic between April-May. Om Gaur, the national editor of 'Bhaskar' said "Unlike some other media we reported how people were dying for lack of oxygen and inadequate hospital beds."

During the 2nd wave of COVID, the Bhaskar published photos of funeral pyres on its front pages as banner news, reported on corpses floating in the Ganges river and repeatedly challenged the government's mismanagement about the disaster and its official death statistics.

Chief Ministers of Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan has condemned the operation. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the media house is "paying the price" for its coverage during the pandemic. Arun Shourie, a leading journalist has tweeted --this is a Modified Emergency.

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