Oxfam India, IPSMF allege IT Dept confiscated phones to clone and retrieve data

Two days after the Income Tax Department conducted surveys at the Oxfam India and the Independent And Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) buildings, the two organisations alleged on Friday, that their phones were confiscated for cloning to retrieve data.

“The Income Tax (I-T) department officials conducted an Income Tax ‘survey’ at the Oxfam India Delhi office from the 7th September 2022 noon to early hours of 9th September. During these 35 plus hours of non-stop survey, the Oxfam India team members were not allowed to leave the premises; the internet was shut down and all the mobile phones were confiscated,” read a statement by Oxfam India.

“The Income Tax survey team took away hundreds of pages of data pertaining to the finances and programs of Oxfam India. They also took all the data by cloning the Oxfam India server and the private mobile phones of the Senior leadership team and the Finance lead,” it added.

TN Ninan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the IPSMF, said in a statement, “A team of income tax officials came for a ‘survey’ to the Bengaluru office of the Foundation on Wednesday, September 7. They stayed till 4.30 this morning, going through the papers and records of the Foundation and asking questions. The Foundation’s staff were cooperative and answered all questions put to them on a wide range of matters. The officials took statements from three senior staff members.”

“The Foundation believes that its affairs are entirely in order. Some media reporting on the I-T survey has linked it to foreign funding and the funding of political parties. We wish to make it clear that the Foundation has received no foreign funds at any stage, and has funded only media entities. The Foundation believes in its mission of supporting independent and public-spirited media, and intends to continue its work,” it added.