Congress-backed news channel in Kerala says its bank accounts frozen by tax authorities

Jaihind TV was recently in the news after the CBI issued a notice seeking details of the investments made in the channel by DK Shivakumar.

ByPTI

Published Feb 17, 2024 | 2:52 PMUpdatedFeb 17, 2024 | 2:53 PM

Jaihind TV

The management of Congress-backed Jaihind TV in Kerala on Saturday, 17 February, alleged that its bank accounts were frozen by the Centre, a day after the national party’s main bank accounts were frozen by the I-T department over an outstanding tax demand.

According to sources in the TV channel, the office of the Assistant Commissioner, Central GST and Central Excise in Thiruvananthapuram issued notices to two leading private banks, directing them to recover the amount due to the central government from the news channel’s parent company, Bharat Broadcasting Company, leading to the freeze of its accounts.

Jaihind TV was recently in the news after the CBI issued a notice seeking details of the investments made in the channel by Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar in connection with a disproportionate assets case against the Congress leader.

The channel’s Managing Director BS Shiju said the action of the tax authorities was completely “unexpected”, and that too while the case related to it was pending in the High Court.

“This abrupt action is indeed unfortunate and has plunged the channel into a state of crisis,” he said.

Also Read: I-T department de-freezes Congress bank accounts after party argues it was frozen on ‘flimsy grounds’

Related to tax arrears case

Shiju said the channel, on 22 December last year, received a notice seeking details of an investment made by Shivakumar and his family members in it.

“We are fully cooperating with the investigating agency in that regard. But unfortunately, after this, we received half a dozen notices from various central government departments and agencies. It is evident that this is a clear case of political vendetta against the Indian National Congress and D K Shivakumar,” Shiju, who is also a Congress leader, told PTI.

Sources in Jaihind TV said the freezing of the accounts was in connection with a 7-year-old case concerning service tax arrears, which is currently being heard by the Kerala High Court.

They also claimed that the action was taken without any warning, disrupting the channel’s day-to-day operations.

Also Read: Conspiracy to end my career, says DK Shivakumar over CBI notice to Kerala channel

Case against DK Shivakumar

The CBI registered a case against DK Shivakumar in 2020, alleging that between 2013 and 2018, he had amassed assets worth over ₹74 crore, which are allegedly disproportionate to his income.

In its notice issued under Section 91 of the CrPC, the CBI had asked the channel to furnish details of investments made by Shivakumar and is wife Usha Shivakumar, dividends paid to them, share transactions, financial transactions along with bank details through which they were made, statement of holdings, their ledger accounts, contract notes and transactions for all share transactions among other details.

On Friday, 16 February, the Congress’ main bank accounts were frozen over an income tax demand of ₹210 crore but an I-T appellate tribunal later allowed it to operate them pending a further hearing next week, a huge relief for the party which said the move had impacted all political activity.

The accounts, including that of the Indian Youth Congress, were frozen on an Income Tax demand of ₹210 crore for 2018-19, an election year, Congress treasurer Ajay Maken said.

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