According to media reports, Income Tax Department (ITD) searched the premises of media baron Raghav Bahl in connection with allegations of tax evasion. According to reports, the tax officials were looking for documents and other evidences which are crucial for further probe in the case. Reportedly, the raid is for collection of evidences and not intimidation.
Raghav Bahl is the founder of Network 18 and the Quint website.
As soon as news of search at Raghav’s premises surfaced usual suspects condemned it and employed the same template that this is an attack of freedom of press. While others called Raghav Bahl a habitual offender and made some revelations about him which was unknown to the common masses.
Raghav Bahl is habitual offender.
Penalty of 1 cr+ levied by IT dept on got reduced to mere 53K ?
7 cases of IT dept against regarding evasion of tax.
1 ROC case.
— Suresh Nakhua (@SureshNakhua) October 11, 2018
According to the Statesman report, “As per the income tax report, two media firms – INX Media and Network 18 — had in 2008 allegedly bribed Karti for getting FIPB approvals. At that time, INX Media was c-owned by Peter Mukherjee, and Network 18 that runs TV channels like CNN-IBN and news portals was controlled by Raghav Bahl, who now runs the Quint website.”
Raghav Bahl had previously also settled a case with SEBI for late payment of fees.
According to the Pgurus website report, “While Peter Mukherjea’s INX’s paid cash in several installments, Raghav Bahl’s Network 18 allotted 60 lakh shares of its London company called Artevea Digital UK Limited to Karti’s firm.”
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) January 9, 2018
Interestingly, on Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached assets of worth Rs 54 crore of Karti Chidambaram in India, Spain and United Kingdom in connection to INX media and PMLA case.
ED attaches around Rs 54 crores worth properties and bank deposits of Karti Chidambaram in connection with INX Media case. Properties include,
Jor Bagh in New Delhi, Ooty & Kodaikanal bungalows, residence in UK and property in Barcelona pic.twitter.com/TTK31PMTTo
— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2018
However, for some of the self declared respected journalists of India, Raghav Bahl is a holy cow and who can do no wrong. The cabal condemned the searches. However, the cabal enthusiastically celebrates when the house of a politician is searched or raided by the Income Tax department. The cabal strongly believes that a house of a journalist should not be raided as journalist cannot do anything wrong. And this shows that the cabal is filled with a bunch of hypocrites and they are proud of it. They don’t just embrace hypocrisy, they in fact celebrate it.
If the person has not done anything wrong then he should not be afraid of any raid. Instead, he/she should cooperate with the authorities.
Media house owners and their coteries should not adopt holier than thou attitude. Raghav Bahl is an Indian citizen and Income Tax Department has all the rights to search his premises. Journalists are not above the constitution and law of the land.
Reacting to this entire episode, Raghav Bahl in a statement to the Editor’s Guild 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 complaint entity, and will provide all access to all appropriate finance documents. However, I have just spoken to the officer on my premises, on 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 unauthorized copies of this material. I am now on my way back to Delhi.”
— Raghav Bahl (@Raghav_Bahl) October 11, 2018
Trouble seems to not be over for the The Quint as sexual harassment allegations had recently surfaced that one of their employees.
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