The BBC will cooperate fully with the Indian authorities, the UK-headquartered media organisation said on Thursday in response to reports from India of a new investigation launched by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into alleged foreign exchange violations by the British public broadcaster.
A spokesperson for the British taxpayer-funded licence fee-backed media corporation told PTI that the BBC would comply with its obligations for operating in India.
The statement came in response to a query about reports that the ED has reportedly called for documents and statements of some company executives under provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
"We will continue to cooperate fully with the Indian authorities to ensure that we comply with all our obligations,” a BBC spokesperson said.
According to official sources in Delhi, the ED probe is reportedly looking at purported foreign direct investment (FDI) violations by the company in India.
It follows the Income-Tax (I-T) department's so-called survey operations at the BBC’s New Delhi and Mumbai offices over three days in February.
In its statement following the action, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said it had found discrepancies and that the income and profits disclosed by the organisation's units were "not commensurate with the scale of operations in India".
In the wake of the action, the British government strongly defended the BBC and its editorial freedom in Parliament saying: “We stand up for the BBC. We fund the BBC. We think the BBC World Service is vital.”
An urgent question was raised in the House of Commons by the Opposition parties, some of whom branded the action a “deliberate act of intimidation following the release of an unflattering documentary about the country’s leader” and sharply criticised the UK government for failing to make a statement on the issue sooner.
In January, the BBC aired a controversial two-part documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ in the UK.