Indian newspaper that criticised government over Covid raided for tax evasion

Office of one of India’s popular local language newspapers, Dainik Bhaskar  was raided for tax evasion. 

More than 100 tax inspectors descended on the headquarters of Dainik Bhaskar media group in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and raided 30 regional offices.

They also raided homes of several of the newspaper’s senior executives and promoters and the mobile phones of some employees seized.

Dainik Bhaskar, which is published in Hindi, is one of India’s most widely read daily newspapers with a circulation of more than 4m copies. It produces more than 60 regional editions.

Dainik Bhaskar devoted extensive coverage to the failures of the state and central government in dealing with the crisis, including deaths from oxygen shortages, lack of hospital beds and the bodies of thousands of victims found floating on the Ganges.

Reporters also spent weeks at crematoriums and hospital morgues counting the Covid dead to expose the undercounting of deaths.

Dainik Bhaskar accused the government of going after it on trumped-up tax evasion charges in response to its critical reporting. “Scared of its coverage of floating dead bodies in the River Ganges during the pandemic, the government launched raids on the Bhaskar group,” it said in a statement.