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BBC India offices raided by tax officials in New Delhi and Mumbai

BBC India offices raided by tax officials in New Delhi and Mumbai

The search comes just weeks after the broadcaster released a documentary critical of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's time as chief minister of Gujarat.

Indian tax officials have raided the BBC's offices in New Delhi.

Teams from the tax department surveyed the BBC's Delhi and Mumbai offices, the Press Trust of India news agency reported, quoting officials who were not identified.

A BBC spokesperson said: "The income tax authorities are currently at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully cooperating.

"We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible."

Indian tax authorities have so far declined to comment.

The search of the offices comes just weeks after the broadcaster released a documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in the anti-Musilm riots in 2002 when he was chief minister of Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people died.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was criticised for his role in anti-Muslim riots in 2002 when he was chief minister of Gujarat

Mr Modi has denied allegations that authorities under his watch allowed and even encouraged the bloodshed, and the Supreme Court said it found no evidence to prosecute him.

Last year, the court dismissed a petition filed by a Muslim victim questioning Mr Modi's exoneration.

The second portion of the two-part documentary "examines the track record of Narendra Modi's government following his re-election in 2019", according to the BBC's website.

The Indian government banned the documentary, authorities moved to stop screenings and restricted clips of it on social media in a move that critics branded an assault on press freedom.

The government invoked emergency powers under its information technology laws to block the programme.

Twitter and YouTube complied with government requests and removed many links to the documentary.

India's foreign ministry at the time called the documentary a "propaganda piece designed to push a particularly discredited narrative" that lacked objectivity.

Many politicians from Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party criticised the programme as an attack on India's sovereignty.

The BBC said in a statement at the time that the documentary was "rigorously researched" and involved a wide range of voices and opinions.

"We offered the Indian government a right to reply to the matters raised in the series - it declined to respond," the statement said.

Last week, Hindu right-wing nationalists petitioned the Supreme Court for a complete ban on the BBC in the wake of the programme.

The court dismissed their plea, calling it "absolutely meritless".


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