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External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly during a meeting in New Delhi. Photo Credit: PTI

James Cleverly raises issue over income tax search at BBC offices

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In a Wednesday bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly brought up the issue of Income Tax department searches at BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai.

Following the broadcast of a two-part BBC documentary in the U.K. that was harshly critical of Prime Minister Modi and the government’s relationship with Muslims in India, the I-T department conducted searches. India outlawed the documentary. Politically diverse members of the UK House of Commons have recently voiced their strong opposition to tax raids on the BBC. Government representatives from India and Britain have spoken about the BBC and the effects of the documentary.

The BBC raids issue was brought up during Mr. Cleverly’s meeting with Mr. Jaishankar, and he confirmed this in an interview with ANI on Wednesday. He also assured the TEAM that the BBC was independent and “separate” from the British government.

In remarks made in public last week, Mr. Jaishankar said that the BBC programme was a “hatchet job” and that “election season” had already started in London and New York.

In the House of Commons last week, British lawmakers from all political parties expressed their displeasure over the raids and questioned the British administration about its interactions with the (Indian) government on the matter. In the House of Commons, the Tory government had vigorously defended the BBC.

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