Friday, July 23 2021

Dive In

President Moon is masturbating himself. Japan does not have the time to care so much about the relationship between the two countries as South Korea thinks.

That’s the highly rude comment made by Japan’s deputy ambassador to South Korea to a reporter. As a result, President Moon Jae-in has cancelled his planned visit to Tokyo, where he was scheduled to attend the opening ceremony for the Summer Games—and hold a high-level meeting with PM Yoshihide Suga. Aren’t diplomats supposed to be diplomatic?

Big Story

The tax raids on Dainik Bhaskar

The TLDR: The country’s leading Hindi news group was raided by Income tax officials at the crack of dawn on Thursday. Also raided: Bharat Samachar’s offices in Lucknow as well as the home of its editor. The reason offered by the taxman: “conclusive evidence of tax fraud.” The reason offered by critics: Their unfavourable news coverage of the government. 


Tell me about the raids…

The targets: Dainik Bhaskar is one of India’s most widely read daily newspapers with a circulation of more than four million copies—and it produces more than 60 regional editions—including Divya Bhaskar, which is very popular in Gujarat. Bharat Samachar is a local Hindi news channel in Uttar Pradesh. 


The raids: on Dainik Bhaskar took place in 30 locations across five states—Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra—and included both offices and homes of the owners. They started early in the morning and were still underway as of 10:30 pm last night—and involved at least 100 tax inspectors. Tax officials also descended on the Lucknow office of Bharat Samachar channel and home of its owner-editor Brajesh Mishra. 


What’s the tax case against them?

We don’t have any details on Bharat Samachar, but here’s what unnamed “government sources” are telling sympathetic outlets like Times of India and ANI:


One: The raids have little to do with editorial content and are instead focused on the owners—who are three brothers, Sudhir, Pawan and Girish Agarwal. They control Dainik Bhaskar’s parent company, DB Corp Ltd, which owns 100 companies in a wide range of sectors, including power, real estate and textiles—and has a turnover of Rs 60 billion (6000 crore). Tax officials claim they did not even raid the newspaper’s office in Lucknow or question its editor Om Gaur.


Two: Here’s the essence of allegations:


“There are allegations of huge tax evasion by the [Dainik Bhaskar] group by claiming bogus expenses and purchases using shell entities. The group has floated several paper companies for this purpose, with their employees as shareholders and directors."


Three: More specifically, the parent company is accused of creating shell companies—and then using them to illegally “round trip” money into India. This is when undeclared funds are sent from India to tax havens abroad—and then brought back in the form of foreign direct investment. It’s basically a form of money laundering. These government sources note that the DB Group was one of the entities named in the Panama Papers—which involved the leak of 11.5 million financial and legal records exposing such kinds of fraud.


Four: The raids are part of an investigation that dates back to 2016:


“Sources said that the Bhaskar Group has been on the radar of the tax authorities since 2016 and is being investigated along with other entities under the Black Money Act.”


And what does Dainik Bhaskar say?



In today’s edition

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