New Delhi, July 22: The Income Tax Department has conducted searches at offices of media entity Dainik Bhaskar in several locations across the country over alleged tax evasion.
According to people in the know, raids have been conducted at Bhopal, Indore, Jaipur and Ahmedabad premises of the Dainik Bhaskar group.
Search operations also took place at the residences and offices of the promoters of the group and a few other employees.
According to sources, I-T department raids follow information of tax evasion and alleged cases of related party transactions and instances of round tripping of funds.
The department may have also laid its hand on a paper trail of bogus payments made to show expenditure in books of company.
Sources said that instances of investment from dubious companies and transaction with shell companies whose names have been mentioned in Paradise papers have also been found.
It may be noted that names of some people from Bhaskar group were also mentioned in Panama paper leak.
Further, raids were also conducted in the office of Bharat Samachar, an Uttar Pradesh-based news channel. Search operations were conducted at its Lucknow office and the editor's residence.
Sources said the raids were based on "evidence of tax fraud" by the channel.
The raids come at a time when the media group off late had published a number of stories on the severe impact and the deaths caused by the second wave of Covid-19 and talked about the handling of the situation by the government.
Criticising the government for "using ED and IT as weapons", former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh took to Twitter and said that income tax officials are present at around 6 premises the group, including its office at Press Complex in Bhopal.
Similarly, Bharat Samachar's recent reporting has also been critical of the Uttar Pradesh government. The channel has gone on air to say the raid is an attack on free press.