New Delhi: The income tax department searched media baron Raghav Bahl’s home and office on Thursday in connection with a case of alleged tax evasion, officials said.
A team of I-T sleuths raided Bahl’s premises in Noida early morning and are looking for documents and other evidence related to a case of “bogus long term capital gains (LTCG) received by various beneficiaries", they said.
Bahl, who was in Mumbai, said in a statement that he was on his way to Delhi and his wife and mother were confined to the residence and not allowed to speak to anybody.
“I have got little else to go on right now," he said in a statement to the media.
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.
Bahl is the founder of the Quint news portal and the Network18 group and is a known media entrepreneur.
The Editors Guild of India on Thursday expressed concern over the I-T raids at Bahl’s residence and office, saying it believed that “motivated" I-T raids would seriously undermine media freedom and the government should desist from such attempts.
The guild said it was perturbed over Bahl’s statement that he had to strongly advise the tax officials that they should not try and pick up or see any other mail or document, which was likely to contain very serious and sensitive journalistic material.
“If they do that, then we shall seek extremely strong recourse," Bahl has stated.
“While the tax administration is within its rights to make inquiries in compliance with the relevant laws, it should not exercise those powers in a way that could be seen as an intimidation of the government’s critics," the guild said. “The guild believes that motivated income-tax searches and surveys will seriously undermine media freedom and the government should desist from such attempts."
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.