The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doordarshan tastes tax raid

New Delhi, Sept. 17: Income-tax officials today carried out an unprecedented raid on Doordarshan’s Mandi House headquarters here.

The seven-hour raid — aimed at unearthing suspected undisclosed incomes of film and serial makers working for Doordarshan — was the first time the tax department has swooped on another arm of the government.

Doordarshan is now under Prasar Bharati, an autonomous body, but it still has staff on loan from the Indian Information Service. Its budget and growth plans are controlled by the Centre.

Although Raj Narain, member, investigations, Central Board of Direct Taxes, denied knowledge of the raid, sources said Doordarshan officials had protested the action and wanted to know why serial makers were not targeted instead.

Till last year, Doordarshan was exempt from filing income-tax returns. However, this exemption has been withdrawn from this financial year.

The state-run television channel has been arguing that as a public service broadcaster, it should not be taxed and, consequently, did not file advance income-tax returns.

This was, however, not the provocation for the action. The sources said the raid was conducted to track down television software makers who were paying back their dues to Doordarshan, but could be concealing incomes.

Doordarshan sources said tax officials had taken away several files and documents relating to payment made to serial makers and other software producers.

Certain Doordarshan officials had in the past been investigated by the CBI and the income-tax department for alleged corrupt practices, but never had the television channel itself been the target.

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