"India: The Modi Question"
The BBC on February 14 said that it is fully cooperating with the Income Tax department after survey operations were conducted at the media corporation’s Delhi and Mumbai offices as it hoped to get the situation resolved “as soon as possible’.

The operation, part of a tax evasion investigation, comes weeks after the broadcaster released a two-part documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots named “India: The Modi Question”.

The synchronised surprise action began at 11 am with I-T officials reaching the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai. BBC staffers were asked to keep their phones at a particular spot inside the premises, officials said.

The department is looking at documents related to the business operations of the London headquartered public broadcaster and its Indian arm, they said.

Following the survey by the IT department, the BJP hit out at the BBC, accusing it of “running agenda under the garb of journalism” and taking an anti-India stance.

“Any agency or company operating out of India will have to abide by the laws and regulations of the country. If you are following the law, then you should not be scared. Let the agencies do their job,” BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia told a press conference.

“It won’t be wrong to say that BBC has become the most corrupt and ridiculous organisation in the world. And the worst things are BBC’s propaganda and the Congress’ agenda match with each other”, he said.

The investigation is linked to international taxation issues of BBC subsidiary companies, sources indicated.

As news spread, onlookers and media crews were seen outside the BBC office at central Delhi’s Kasturba Gandhi Marg. In Mumbai, the office is in Santa Cruz.

As part of a survey, the Income Tax Department only covers the business premises of a company and does not raid residences and other locations of its promoters or directors.

The department is looking at documents related to the business operations of the company and those related to its Indian arm, they said.

Refusing Award
Dalit writer and poet Sukirtharani has refused to accept the Devi Awards citing that the main sponsor of the award ceremony is the Adani Group and accepting any awards sponsored by them is against her ideology. Sukirtharani, who is known for her literary works on Dalit women’s rights, noted in her Facebook post that she renounced the Devi awards on Saturday, 4 February.

“The New Indian Express group presents the ‘Devi Awards’ to 12 women personalities who are selected from across the nation for their contribution in their respective fields of work. The award is to be presented to me for my contributions to Dalit literature. I thank the New Indian Express”, she wrote in the post.

“I learned that the main sponsor of the event is Adani only yesterday. I don’t feel happy to receive an award from an organisation or at an event that is financially supported by the Adani Group, for the politics I speak about and the ideologies I believe in. So, I refuse to accept the Devi Awards,” she further wrote. Sukirtharani also sent an official mail declining the award and mentioned that she will never deviate from her political clarity and choices.

Sukirtharani, a teacher from Lalapet of Ranipet district, has written six books namely Kaipattri Yen Kanavu Kel, Iravu Mirugam, Kaamatthipoo, Theendapadaatha Muttham, Avalai Mozhipeyarthal, and Ippadikku Yeval.
TNM, Tamilnadu

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Vol 55, No. 36, Mar 5 - 11, 2023