Indian authorities accuse BBC of tax evasion after raids

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India’s Finance Ministry accused the BBC of tax evasion on Friday, saying that it had not fully declared its income and profits from its operations in the country.

Indian tax authorities ended three days of searches of the British broadcaster's New Delhi and Mumbai offices on Thursday night. Opposition political parties and other media organizations have criticized the searches as an attempt to intimidate the media.

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Critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have questioned the timing of the searches, which came weeks after the BBC aired a documentary in the UK that was critical of Modi.

“The department gathered several evidences pertaining to the operation of the organization which indicate that tax has not been paid on certain remittances which have not been disclosed as income in India by the foreign entities of the group,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes said in a statement.

It said they found “several discrepancies and inconsistencies” and had gathered “crucial evidence” from statements of employees, digital evidence and documents which would be examined more fully later.

There was no immediate comment from the BBC. It said on Thursday that it would continue to cooperate with Indian authorities and hoped that the matter could be resolved as soon as possible.

The Press Trust of India news agency cited unnamed officials as saying on Thursday that investigators collected financial data from select BBC staffers and made copies of electronic and paper data from the news organization.

It said the investigation was being carried out to investigate issues related to international taxation and transfer pricing of BBC subsidiary companies.

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