The Income Tax Department has conducted a survey operation at the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Delhi and Mumbai operations for tax evasion investigation. The department officials have seized phones and laptops as a part of the survey. The department’s survey covers the business premises of the media giant and does not include the residencies of the corporation’s directors or promoters.
The BBC recently aired the documentary “India: The Modi Question” on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat Riots. The two-part series was taken down from public platforms last month, and the Union Government used the IT Rules to block the YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing the links for the documentary.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has reacted to the department’s survey operation, stating that the Government is after the BBC instead of accepting the opposition’s demand on a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Adani-Hindenburg’s matter. TMC’s Mahua Moitra took to Twitter to write “Reports of Income Tax raid at BBC’s Delhi office. Wow, really? How unexpected.”
Slamming opposition, BJP spokesperson, Gaurav Bhatia, has said, “Income Tax department lawfully carried out raids at the BBC office. The IT department is no longer the ‘caged parrot’ as the Supreme Court had said about government institutions during the Congress rule.”
He added, “The BBC has become the most ‘Bhrasht Bakwaas Corporation’ in the world. Unfortunately, BBC’s propaganda and Congress’ agenda are on the same lines. Today, India is attaining great heights under PM Modi’s leadership, and some sections do not like this. The BBC has all rights to do journalism in India, but they will have to abide by the law of the land.”
The BJP’s spokesperson referred to several instances when the British media giant insulted Indian sentiments. He said, “In one of its programmes, the BBC referred to a terrorist operating in Kashmir (slain LeT commander Burhaan Wani) as a charismatic young revolutionary. What kind of journalism is this? You (BBC) are working in India but trying to sabotage our Constitution. In another report, it said Holi is a ‘filthy’ festival. What do you (BBC) know about our festivals? In another report, they insulted our icons saying that Mahatma Gandhi failed to liberate India in 1946.”
Earlier, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, said, “We think that this is a propaganda piece, designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity and continuing colonial mindset is blatantly visible.” However, BBC continues to peddle propaganda against Prime Minister Modi even though the Supreme Court has upheld the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) clean chit given to 64 people, including the Prime Minister, in the 2002 Gujarat Riots case.
The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, reacted to a Pakistan-origin MP’s question about the BBC’s documentary and said that he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation” of PM Modi.
Lord Rami Ranger, a member of the House of Lords, condemned the BBC’s biased reporting of the documentary stating that the same would hurt the sentiments of all Indians as it insults India’s democratically elected Prime Minister and India’s judiciary.
The Spectator’s columnist, Steerpike, revealed a cash-for-propaganda deal between the BBC and Huawei, the Chinese tech giant. The article said that the media giant had developed questionable corporate partnerships amid budget cuts and uncertain license fee future.
However, the timing of the documentary indicates that this is a conspiracy aimed at spoiling the image of PM Modi and the BJP by projecting them as anti-Muslim to adversely affect their chances of victory in the coming elections. That the documentary was produced 21 years later, when the next general election was due to take place, itself indicates the overall plan of the conspirators.
“Why is BBC so anti-India? Because it needs money desperately enough to take it from Chinese state-linked Huawei (see link) & pursue the latter’s agenda (BBC a fellow traveller, Comrade Jairam?) It’s a simple cash-for-propaganda deal. BBC is up for sale,” tweeted Mahesh Jethmalani, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India.
In 2022, the Indian Government enacted new government rules which prohibited using Chinese vendors for network expansion in their latest clampdown on Huawei and ZTE ahead of India’s 5G rollout. As a result, these two Chinese telecom equipment manufacturers have been unable to secure business in India, which has forced them to reduce their workforce by about 90% over the past two years.
Huawei has close links with the Chinese establishment, and Huawei’s employees have collaborated with the Chinese armed forces personnel on research projects indicating close and active ties with the Chinese military. In addition, the Chinese establishment could be involved in BBC’s publication of the documentary against PM Modi to tarnish India’s international standing and relations.