The Income Tax department is conducting raids at the offices of online media portals, Newslaundry and Newsclick, reports say. The raids reportedly began Friday morning. The precise reason behind the raids is not yet known.
Newsclick was raided earlier in February as well. The raids were reportedly related to a money laundering case and the agency was investigating the funding the organisation had received from “dubious companies” abroad.
According to sources in the ED, NewsClick had received Rs.10 crore under Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from an American company. Interestingly, NewsClick’s owner Prabir Purkayastha has no idea for what purpose the American company transferred the money to his company’s account. He could not give any proof of work that he has done for the particular company.
Further investigation revealed that another US-based company gave them Rs.20 crore and marked it as ‘Export Remittance’. The money was transferred because NewsClick had uploaded content on a portal named People’s Dispatch. It is not known whether the current raids are related to the previous raid.
One Newslaundry employee told The Wire, “So far the raid is only at one office of Newslaundry.” The employee also said that the media outlet’s “financial records are being checked”. According to one source mentioned in the report, “When the I-T officials came in at 11:40 am today, there were around 20 people at the office in Sarvodaya Enclave. Everyone’s phones were confiscated, switched off and kept together on a table.”
It is a developing situation and the report will be updated with further information when it is available.