The IT officials ‘surveyed’ The Quint Type office including The Quint and The News Minute, sources inside The Quint disclosed to Free Press Kashmir Thursday.
Upon entering the office, the officials had asked the people to stop working and give up their phones. However, after briefly exchanging words about the nature of journalistic work, the officials agreed for them to continue, sources told FPK.
The IT team of officials are still inside the office and are searching the files of the office, sources said to FPK.
Earlier, IT officials conducted a ‘survey’ on The Quint’s office in Noida and the media organisation’s founder Raghav Bahl’s home, Bahl said, as per a report in Scroll .
The visit is reportedly in connection with an alleged tax evasion case.
“While I was in Mumbai this morning, dozens of Income Tax officials descended on my residence and The Quint’s office for a ‘survey’,” said Bahl. “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…They should also not misuse their smartphones to take unauthorised copies of this material.”
The officials also ‘surveyed’ the office of The News Minute in Bengaluru. Quintillion is an investor in media firm. The officials asked for financial documents and audit books. “We are complying with the requests of the officers at our premises,” said Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief, The News Minute.
Journalist Shekhar Gupta called the survey a matter of “serious concern”. He said: “IT raids on @TheQuint offices and its founder @Raghav_Bahl home are cause for serious concern. Taxman has the right to ask all questions, but raids look like intimidation. If there is justification, govt must explain quickly. Or it will be seen as targeting critical media.”
Income Tax raid on at the house of Quint website owner Raghav Behl in Noida.
— Raj Shekhar Jha (@rajshekharTOI) October 11, 2018
The Associate Editor of The Quint, Poonam Agarwal on Twitter said that the IT officers were ‘trying to clone data’ of the Founder and CEO of the Media organisation, Ritu Kapur.
IT officers are trying to clone data from @kapur_ritu‘s gadgets. When she screamed and asked me about the law of privacy and whether they can clone her journalistic and personal material, while I was standing outside her residence, two IT officers pulled her inside the house.
— Poonam Agarwal (@poonamjourno) October 11, 2018