We do business with honesty; probe attempt to stifle independent journalism: Newslaundry, Newsclick after tax survey | India News
The tax department examined Newslaundry’s office located at Sarvodaya Enclave in South Delhi on Friday along with Newsclick in the Saidulajab area (South Delhi) on charges of alleged tax evasion.
“We have nothing to hide and we have done everything according to the book and we are not breaking or breaking any laws. We conduct our business with honesty and integrity,” said Newslaundry co-founder Abhinandan. Sekhri he said in a message posted on his Twitter sort out.
He said the tax team told him he “cannot” speak to his lawyer and that he is required by law to comply “without seeking legal advice,” adding that the officials were courteous and professional.
He said that “no signed hash value of the copied data was provided to him” and that he viewed this as a violation of his fundamental right to privacy.
A hash value is a numeric value that uniquely identifies data. Hash values represent large amounts of data as much smaller numeric values, so they are used with digital signatures.
Sekhri said the tax team of 6-7 people arrived at his office around 12:15 pm and left around 12:40 pm on Saturday.
“They searched and checked all the computing devices in the facility. My personal mobile phone, my laptop and a couple of office machines were checked and the IT team downloaded all the data,” he said.
Sekhri said this was the tax authorities’ second visit to his office, the first in June, and that they had handed over “all documents related to our funds and accounts” to officials at the time.
“We will cooperate in any way that the law requires us. We will also continue to practice public interest journalism, which is why we exist,” he said.
Our support comes from people who value news of public interest and chose to subscribe to Newslaundry, not through government or corporate announcements or public relations exercises, Sekhri said, adding that the online portal is proud of the model it has chosen. and defended.
Tax officials had said that separate survey operations were carried out on the two news portals to verify certain details of the tax payments and remittances made by the organizations.
As part of a survey operation, conducted under Section 133A of the Income Tax Act of 1961, tax officials cover only the business premises of an appraiser and those linked to him and not their residential addresses.
However, they are authorized to seize documents, computers and electronic devices as part of the surprise action.
Newsclick said the tax team “recorded the statement of its editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha; confiscated your phone; and they took documents, what they called “loose papers” from the premises.
“They also took emails from Prabir, editor Pranjal and various administrative and financial accounts related to Newsclick,” he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
About 30 Newsclick employees and support staff were in the office during the survey and their phones were temporarily confiscated, and they were not allowed to use their computers and work, he said.
Newsclick said the latest action against him “appears to be related to the same false and unfounded allegations that are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Delhi Police Department of Economic Crimes. We have these allegations challenged in court.”
“These multi-agency investigations, and these targeted allegations, are attempts to stifle independent journalism from media organizations, including Newsclick,” he said.
Tax officials who arrived at the Newsclick office around noon on Friday left at midnight.
Newsclick, Purkayastha and other executives were raided by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in early February under the provisions of the Money Laundering Prevention Law and that investigation is linked to alleged dubious foreign funds received by his registered company, which runs the news portal.