INDIA’s income tax department has undertaken raids at the BBC’s offices in Delhi and Mumbai, according to multiple reports. 

It comes after the BBC aired a documentary titled: India: The Modi Question which investigated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the Gujarat riots in 2002. 

The violence left 1000 people dead, most of them members of the country’s Muslim minority. 

The riots started a day after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire, killing dozens. 

Officials said they were looking into documents relating to the company’s business operations, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. 

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The BBC’s documentary on Modi aired in two parts in the UK on January 17 and 24. Its first episode included details of a previously unreleased UK Government inquiry which found Modi “directly responsible” for the circumstances leading up to the 2002 riots, in which thousands of people were killed. 

India blocked the documentary film soon after its release by invoking emergency powers under information and technology laws. 

Previous probes found that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Modi and last year India’s Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the findings of a Special Investigation Team report on the riots which cleared him as well as 62 other senior government officials. 

The Modi government strongly criticised the broadcaster at the time, calling the film a “propaganda piece” that reflected a “continuing colonial mindset”.

Gaurav Bhatia, a spokesman from Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party described the BBC as the “most corrupt organisation in the world”. 

“India is a country which gives an opportunity to every organisation”, he said, “as long as you don’t spew venom.”

He added that the searches were lawful and that the timing had nothing to do with the government. 

The BBC meanwhile said the film adheres to the “highest editorial standards”.

It added that it was “rigorously researched” and that it consulted “a wide range of voices, witnesses and experts”.

Following the raids, the country’s opposition Congress has said the country is under an “undeclared emergency”. 

A BBC spokesperson said: "The Income Tax Authorities are currently at the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai and we are fully co-operating. 

"We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible."

Elsewhere, the Editors Guild of India – a non-profit group which promotes press freedom – said it was “deeply concerned” about the searches. 

It said they are a “continuation of a trend of using government agencies to intimidate and harass press organisations that are critical of government policies or the ruling establishment”.