I-T department surveys BBC premises in Delhi, Mumbai for alleged tax evasion
I-T surveys at BBC offices: The tax authorities are going through documents to check irregularities related to international taxation and Tax Deducted at Source transactions, an official said.
The Income Tax Department Tuesday conducted surveys at the premises of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Delhi and Mumbai in relation to alleged tax evasion and irregularities pertaining to international tax and TDS transactions, officials said. The surveys began around 11 am.
“Surveys, not searches, are being conducted at the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai,” a senior official of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said.
The tax authorities are going through documents to check irregularities related to international taxation and Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) transactions, another official said.
In Delhi, the gates of the office were locked and no one was allowed the enter as authorities questioned employees. All electronic devices were analysed.
The survey action by the tax department against the British broadcaster comes weeks after the BBC released a documentary named ‘India: The Modi Question’. On January 20, the Centre ordered YouTube and Twitter to take down links sharing the documentary, with officials saying it has been found to be “undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India” and has “the potential to adversely impact” the country’s “friendly relations with foreign states” and “public order within the country”. The documentary focuses on Modi’s and his then state government’s response to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The Income Tax Act empowers officials to enter any premises of the assessee, such as residences, shops, factories or offices for a search and seizure operation. Surveys, which are conducted under Section 133A of the Income Tax Act, take place only on business premises. Surveys start during normal business hours, whereas searches can be conducted any time of the day. During surveys, I-T officials look into documents such as books of accounts, bank accounts, cash, stock and non-valuable documents.
Earlier on Tuesday, in an exclusive interview to news agency ANI, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had responded to the BBC documentary on PM Modi. “Conspire as much against the truth as you want, it will come out shining like the sun. These people are after Modiji since 2002. But every time Modiji has come out clean and become more popular,” he had said.