I-T raids on Raghav Bahl: Editors Guild of India says 'motivated' income tax raids undermine freedom of media

The Editors Guild of India on Thursday released a statement about raids conducted by the Income Tax Department at the offices of The Quint and at the residence of its founder Raghav Bahl. A team of I-T sleuths raided Bahl's premises in Noida, looking for documents and other evidence related to a case of "bogus long-term capital gains (LTCG) received by various beneficiaries", officials said.

In a tweet, the Guild said:

Earlier on Thursday, Bahl called on the guild to take action against the raids. He 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."

Apart from Bahl, three other "beneficiaries" and professionals, J Lalwani, Anoop Jain and Abhimanyu, are also being searched as part of the same action, officials said. Officials said their business links to offshore entities are being investigated.

LTCG is broadly defined as the tax paid on profit generated by an asset such as real estate, shares or share-oriented products held for a particular time-frame.

It is understood that the searches are being conducted at the premises of a few other people as part of the I-T Department action to probe tax evasion by a set of business professionals.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Oct 11, 2018 14:40:30 IST

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