The Income Tax Department on Wednesday raided the offices of the Centre for Policy Research think tank in Delhi, non-governmental organisation Oxfam India and the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation in Bengaluru, reports said.
Raids were also carried out on registered unrecognised political parties in Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and some other states as part of a pan-India tax evasion inquiry, PTI reported, citing unidentified officials.
In June, the Election Commission had ordered the deletion of 111 registered unrecognised political parties that were found to be “non-existent”. Details related to three of the parties were sent to the Department of Revenue for legal action relating to “serious financial impropriety”.
On Wednesday, tax officials arrived at the Chankyapuri office of the Centre for Policy Research around noon, NDTV reported. A group of more than 10 officials is reportedly examining the organisation’s account books.
The Centre for Policy Research describes itself as a “non-partisan, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to high quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India”.
Yamini Aiyar is the president and chief executive of the organisation.
Meanwhile, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to Scroll.in that the raids also took place at the Oxfam office.
Oxfam India is a non-profit organisation under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013. It has been working in the country since 1951. According to its website, it is engaged in knowledge building, public campaigning and disaster relief, among other activities.
Unidentified officials told CNBC-TV18 that the Income Tax department was carrying out survey action against the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation in Bengaluru. The foundation has granted funds to several media organisations, including The Wire, The Print and The Caravan.
No official response has been received so far from the Income Tax Department or the organisations being raided.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the raids were a move to silence the independent media in the country.
“It is absolutely atrocious that research and advocacy organisations, and independent charitable trusts like CPR, Oxfam and IPSMF have been raided at the behest of Mr [Narendra] Modi and Mr [Amit] Shah,” he said.