Hours after the Income Tax (IT) Department raided the offices of Dainik Bhaskar, a former Editor of the Hindi daily has voiced his support for the media crackdown. Headquartered in Madhya Pradesh, Dainik Bhaskar is one of the leading dailies with over 60 editions in multiple languages.
In a Facebook post, LN Shital wrote, “Media is not a holy cow, which is somehow immune from being probed. The crackdown on the ‘Bhaskar group’ by the IT Department and ED (Enforcement Directorate) has been dubbed as an attack on independent media. It is being said that the government is miffed with the anti-establishment reportage of Dainik Bhaskar and wanted to intimidate other media houses. Those who say this must remember that no newspaper or media channel is a ‘holy cow’ with innate immunity.”
LN Shital emphasised that everyone is aware of the fact that several media houses run illegal businesses and therefore harass the government such that it ignores their activities. He alleged that Dainik Bhaskar has been at the forefront of such activities. Shital claimed that the media group acquired land from the government at cheap prices and repurpose the land for their own benefits. He added that Bhaskar has been building and selling duplex flats by collaborating with builders and merchants. According to the ex-Editor of Bhaskar, the group is now doing superlative work in provoking the masses against the government.
“Media is an industry. Why can’t it be raided like other industries? But whenever such a thing happens, some cry that the government is carrying out an act of vengeance. How did a company (valued less than ₹100 crores in 1990) is valued at ₹1000 crore in 2021? This information is known to everyone. And it does not take much knowledge to understand… Bhaskar is the strongest, largest, and fastest-growing media group! It wields a lot of power. Its outreach extends way beyond, and even governments tremble at its might!! Then what are they afraid of?” he pointed out.
While speaking about the power assumed by the Dainik Bhaskar group, LN Shital said, “If it didn’t evade tax, then it can shake the Parliament with the help of the opposition. It can hire the most expensive lawyers and keep its point of view before the Supreme Court of India. It can manipulate its large reader base and determine election outcomes. When they have the power to do so much, what can IT Department or ED do to them?” According to his LinkedIn profile, LN Shital worked for 9 years at Dainik Bhaskar between 1992 and 1999.