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I-T officials leave BBC offices after three days of ‘lengthy questioning’

The Income Tax authorities have left the offices of the BBC in New Delhi and Mumbai after three days of lengthy questioning of some of its staff, the UK-headquartered public broadcaster said on Thursday.

The BBC said it will continue to cooperate with the authorities after the I-T “survey” action at the broadcaster’s India offices, which began on Tuesday morning.

It said the priority was to support its staff, many of whom have had to stay overnight in the offices during the course of the enquiries.

The Income Tax Authorities have left our offices in Delhi and Mumbai, a BBC spokesperson said in its latest statement on Thursday evening.

We will continue to cooperate with the authorities and hope matters are resolved as soon as possible. We are supporting staff some of whom have faced lengthy questioning or been required to stay overnight and their welfare is our priority, the spokesperson said.

The broadcaster said its output is now back to normal and reiterated its previous statement that it remains committed to serving our audiences in India and beyond.

The BBC is a trusted, independent media organisation and we stand by our colleagues and journalists who will continue to report without fear or favour, the spokesperson added.

In New Delhi, officials had said the I-T surveys were being carried out to investigate issues related to international taxation and transfer pricing of BBC subsidiary companies, and alleged that the BBC had been served with notices in the past but was “defiant and non-compliant” and had significantly diverted its profits.

The action came weeks after the UK-headquartered public broadcaster aired a controversial two-part documentary in the UK, India: The Modi Question’, referencing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat riots. PTI

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