The Delhi High Court on Tuesday, 21 September, dismissed Newslaundry’s writ petition after the Income Tax department assured the court that the items seized during the “survey operations” at Newslaundry’s office last week were in “safe custody” and will be used “in accordance with law," Newslaundry reported.
The court directed the department that no data shall be leaked and added, “You must make an endeavour because the department is not an ordinary person, but a powerful entity. The concept of confidentiality enshrined under Section 138 of the IT Act shall be abided.”
Officials from the Income Tax Department raided the offices of news-media organisations NewsClick and Newslaundry on 10 September for around thirteen hours.
A team of eight IT officials seized the personal phone and laptop of Newslaundry CEO and co-founder Abhinandan Sekhri, with the tech contractors copying the data from Sekhri's personal gadgets.
Further, Sekhri was not permitted to contact his lawyer during the 'survey'.
Unnamed officials had told PTI that they were covering the business premises of the two portals and that the operations were being conducted to verify certain tax payment details and remittances made by the organisations.
However, the officials said that they were conducting separate “survey operations” and not “raids”.
(With inputs from Newslaundry.)
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