KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday took umbrage at the Income Tax raids agaist media group Dainik Bhaskar for alleged tax evasion, terming the act as a "brutal attempt" to stifle democracy and suppress voices that bring out the truth.
Banerjee said the raids were the fallout of reporting about the "mishandling" of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
"The attack on journalists and media houses is yet another BRUTAL attempt to stifle democracy. #DainikBhaskar bravely reported the way @narendramodi ji mishandled the entire #COVID crisis and led the country to its most horrifying days amid a raging pandemic," she tweeted.
The attack on journalists & media houses is yet another BRUTAL attempt to stifle democracy.#DainikBhaskar bravely reported the way @narendramodi ji mishandled the entire #COVID crisis and led the country to its most horrifying days amid a raging pandemic. (1/2)— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 22, 2021
"I strongly condemn this vindictive act that aims to suppress voices that bring out the TRUTH. It's a grave violation that undermines the very principles of democracy. Urging everyone in the Media to stay strong. Together we shall never let the autocratic forces succeed!" the Trinamool Congress supremo added.
The Income Tax Department on Thursday also conducted raids against Uttar Pradesh-based Hindi news channel Bharat Samachar on charges of tax evasion, official sources said.
The searches in case of Dainik Bhaskar, which brings out newspaper editions in Hindi and Gujarati, are being conducted in Bhopal, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Noida and some other locations in the country.