Indian tax officials examined mobile phones and laptops used by some BBC editorial and administrative employees, two sources told Reuters, as an inspection at the British broadcaster’s offices in New Delhi and Mumbai entered a third day on Thursday.
Tax officials had remained at the BBC’s offices, some sleeping there, since the surprise inspection was launched on Tuesday, according to witnesses.
Others said some employees were questioned on financial transactions late into the night. “They (officials) asked some of us to open their laptops and hand in phones and then handed them back,” one source told Reuters, adding that owners of the devices were asked for the access codes. A second source gave a similar account.
The action by the tax department came just weeks after the government reacted angrily to a BBC documentary that had raised questions over the role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the deadly communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, when the Hindu nationalist leader was chief minister of the western state.
The government dismissed the documentary, ‘India: The Modi Question’, as propaganda and blocked its streaming and sharing on social media.— REUTERS