India continues raids on BBC offices for second day
New Delhi, Feb 15 (EFE).- Tax authorities of the Indian government on Wednesday continued to search BBC’s offices in India, a month after the British broadcaster released a controversial documentary questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the deadly anti-Muslim riots in the country in 2002.
Officials of the Income Tax Department have spent more than 24 hours inside the British Broadcasting Corporation’s offices in New Delhi and the western city of Mumbai, where they arrived on Tuesday to inspect the accounts.
The authorities told local media outlets that the probe comes after several warnings to BBC to clarify several allegations of availing unauthorized tax benefits, tax evasion and diversion of funds in violation of India’s tax norms.
Some of the BBC staff present during the raid left the premises late on Tuesday, although others remain in the office to “cooperate with the ongoing investigations,” the British chain said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We are supporting our staff during this time and continue to hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible,” it added.
The raids come exactly one month after BBC released the documentary “India: The Modi Question,” which examines Modi’s role in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat.
Modi was the chief minister of the western state then.
The death of 59 Hindu pilgrims during a fire on a train, blamed on Muslims, unleashed a wave of communal violence in the state.
Hindu fundamentalists attacked Muslims in the clashes that killed nearly 2,000 people, mostly from the Muslim minority.
The documentary – severely attacked by the government and ruling party as malicious propaganda – has not been aired in India by the BBC. However, the federal government has banned it and prohibited people from sharing clips on social media, citing emergency powers under its information technology laws.
Authorities have also arrested several student leaders who tried to organize public screenings of the film in universities. EFE