Along with Bhaskar group of publication in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and few other states, the Income Tax teams on Thursday conducted raids in the offices of an Uttar Pradesh based television channel. IT sleuths at Lucknow raided the office and residence of the owner, editor and few other staff of regional channel Bharat Samachar.
The regional channel was critical of the state and union government on various issues including mismanagement of covid second wave. The residential premises of few promoters of the channel were also raided in Lucknow. The raids that started in the wee hours on Thursday continued till late afternoon. However, the IT team did not disclose the findings of the raids. The editor and the owner of the channel, Brajesh Mishra said that the raids were conducted to harass him and the team but he would not buckle under any pressure.
Meanwhile the raids at regional channel sparked strong criticism in the opposition parties in UP. The congress state presidents Ajay Kumar Lallu along with various other senior leaders took out a march against the state sponsored raids on media houses. Police arrested the congress leaders including Lallu, legislator party leader Aradhana Mishra Mona and Naseemuddin Siddiqui while they were taking out the march. The national secretary of congress and UP in charge Dheeraj Gurjjar, said that raids on Bhaskar group and Bharat Samachar were conducted to suppress the voice of people.
The Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that whosoever talks of failure of union and state government, is bound to face such actions. A large number of people from civil societies and media organizations also condemned the raids. The state president of UP working Journalists Union (UPWJU), T.B. Singh in a statement issued on Thursday said that any such attempt to crush freedom of expression would be opposed severely.