CBI raids NDTV promoters: Channel says witch-hunt, govt denies charge and everything you need to know

The CBI registered a case against the Roys, a private company and others for causing monetary loss to ICICI Bank by defaulting on loans. Searches were conducted at four locations including in Delhi and Dehradun. The company in question is RRPR Holdings pvt ltd founded by the Roys.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 6, 2017 2:20 pm
NDTV, Prannoy roy, radhika roy, cbi raid, news, india news, bank default case, icici bank, latest news The residence of NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy in Delhi’s Greater Kailash was raided by the CBI on Monday.

The CBI on Monday raided the residences and offices of NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy. The channel called the raids a “witch-hunt” and “concerted harassment of NDTV”. The Centre, however, denied any role in the CBI raids. The Editor’s Guild also hit out at the government for trying to muzzle the media.

Here is how it all unfolded:

The CBI registered a case against the Roys, a private company and others for causing monetary loss to ICICI bank by defaulting on loans. Searches were conducted at four locations including in Delhi and Dehradun. The company in question is RRPR Holdings founded by the Roys. The bank reportedly suffered a loss of Rs. 48 crore.

On Monday, NDTV released a statement hitting out at the CBI. “This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations. NDTV and its promoters will fight tirelessly against this witch-hunt by multiple agencies. We will not succumb to these attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India. We have one message to those who are trying to destroy the institutions of India and everything it stands for: we will fight for our country and overcome these forces,” the channel said.

ndtv, ndtv ban, indtv india, ndtv supreme court, ndtv off air, editors guild of india, ndtv india off air, ndtv penalised, ndtv ban, ndtv pathankot coverage, ndtv pathankot attacks, india news, indian express" Venkaiah Naidu, Prannoy Roy met on Monday.

Responding to the raids, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters that this was not a case of witch-hunting and that the law would take its own course. “This government doesn’t believe in interfering. They (CBI) must have some information, that’s why they might have taken steps. Law is taking its own course, there is no witch-hunting at all,” Naidu said.

“If somebody does something wrong, simply because they belong to media, you cannot expect the government to keep quiet. We have one message to those who are trying to destroy the institutions of India and everything it stands for: we will fight for our country and overcome these forces.” Naidu added. The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also rubbished the allegations of political interference and purported attempts to gag the media. He said that this government is “committed to protecting the freedom of expression and freedom of the press”. He added that the government will ensure that the law of the land prevails.

The Congress party came out in support of the channel. Condemning the raids against the Roys, senior party leader Ajay Maken, at a press conference at the AICC HQs in Delhi, said: “We feel it is an assault on media freedom and attack on the fourth pillar of the democracy…This is also an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear and terror among media houses.”

Congress leaders Ajay Maken and Sharmistha Mukherjee at a press conference. (PTI File photo)

Questioning the CBI over their inaction against major defaulters, Maken said that there is an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear among media houses. “The BJP and the Central government should say how many private defaulters were raided like this….Vijay Mallya, who defaulted over Rs 9,000 crore, is sitting in London and watching the Champions Trophy. There is no action against them. He was allowed to leave the country. And on the other hand, there is an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear among media houses,” he said.

The channel released an updated statement in the evening in which it said that:

“Sources confirm that under pressure, the CBI has been compelled to file an FIR based on a shoddy complaint by a disgruntled former consultant at NDTV called Sanjay Dutt… The allegation appears to be for a loan which has been repaid by Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy more than seven years ago.” (The channel attached a document purportedly from ICICI Bank showing the loan owed to ICICI had been repaid in full.)

“…The CBI has chosen not only to register an FIR, but also conduct a search for a loan which has been duly repaid to ICICI Bank. Moreover, ICICI is a private bank.It is clearly the independence and fearlessness of NDTV’s team that the ruling party’s politicians cannot stomach and the CBI raid is merely another attempt at silencing the media. No matter how much the politicians attack us – We will not give up the fight for freedom and the independence of media in India.”

ICICI loan was repaid by NDTV on Scribd

NDTV Managing Editor Sreenivasan Jain tweeted: “Message is clear: any independent voices in media will be bullied and shut down. Black day.” Meanwhile, NDTV’s Editorial Director Sonia Singh tweeted: “Stand fully with Prannoy & Radhika Roy,the most honest,decent & courageous people I know. We will not be cowed down by false charges.” Executive Editor Nidhi Razdan said on Twitter: “A message to those in the media who are still independent and do their job by fearlessly asking questions. We won’t be intimidated.”

“One of the most popular faces on NDTV senior journalist Ravish Kumar did a stinging episode on his ‘Prime Time’ news show on NDTV India. The episode titled ‘Delhi: The fear capital’ spoke about how authoritarian governments were trying to gag, take over, threaten or influence global media, media houses and those who question the government.

Taking a dig at a section of the Indian media, Ravish quoted former US President Barack Obama’s parting speech to White House correspondents, where he said: “You are not supposed to be sycophants… you are supposed to be skeptics.”

Citing examples of authoritarian regimes in the past, and how leaders and journalists stood up against them, Ravish called upon the public to stand up against the government. He said that in Delhi, there are two kinds of journalists left — those who are fearful and the ones who are being threatened. The fearful are either being paid handsomely for being afraid or they are getting fear in exchange of fear.

He even shared a post on his Facebook page, challenging the prime minister to sit across the table with them with a live camera. “Scare us, threaten us, put all institutions including Income Tax department at work. Look, we are already trembling with fear. Get your trolls on Social Media to start a defamation campaign against us. However, at a time when many media houses are playing in your lap (Godi Media), there’s one such media house that refuses to do so. Your success is that people will sing songs of how thousands of Indian media houses played in your lap. NDTV isn’t an overnight phenomenon, even they know that. If you are so eager to finish us, then Sir, someday, let’s sit across each other. We’ll be there, you’ll be there and so will be a Live Camera,” he said.

The Editor’s Guild of India also stood by NDTV. In a statement, the guild said: “Entry of police and other agencies into the media offices is a serious matter.” It said that no individual was above the law but it condemned “any attempt to muzzle the media and called upon the CBI to follow the due process of law and ensure that there is no interference in the free functioning of news operations.”

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  1. A
    Jun 7, 2017 at 10:25 am
    1. R
      Jun 6, 2017 at 7:11 pm
      Rajyavardhan Singh Rat says that freedom of press is in tact. If that had been the case, why the failed government diktat of 2nd November for NDTV INDIA not to telecast on 8-9 November? Modi government was afraid of criticism of its demonetisation by NDTV. Ravish Kumar has not only been anchoring Prime Time but also leading a crusade againsooit high-handedness of this despotic governmen, thriving solely on Media hype. 'Laptop' journalists like Sudhir Chaudhary & Rajat Sharma have been running media campaign for BJP government & maligning opposition. The lattet got Padma Bhushan for his sycophancy. ICICI Bank letter clearly shows that Prannoy Roy doesn't owe anything to the bank. A clear case of vendetta against the last bastions of fearless journalism is being let loose by this Hindutva obsessed government. The fourth pillar of democracy should never be compromised to protect freedom of expression
      1. S
        Srinivasa R Rajagopal
        Jun 6, 2017 at 6:15 pm
        Why it took three years? Enforcement,RBI,SEBI......where were you? Mr Gurumurthy could you pose this question?
        1. M
          Madan mohan
          Jun 6, 2017 at 5:17 pm
          Why it is witch haunt, if they did any malpractices, they have to pay the price.Even Govt. should teach the lession for them because they are now and then keeping their business run, they are accusing any one. After all they are part of the system, how they can be given special treatment.Of course we know that, this channel congress supporter.we have seen it during demonatization. if they did wrong doing so what is different between criminal and these culprit and other leader in the system such as RJD Lalu, Sahabudin,Maya,Dinakaran, Sashikala,Rajiv all are doing same.
          1. A
            Jun 6, 2017 at 5:16 pm
            Who do they think they are. Are they the repository of freedom of expression and any lawless act of theirs should too be considered a part of that act. They think they are holier than everybody. Truth is they are sounding day in day out in an obnoxious way 'anti Hindus', 'anti Indians' , pro enemies of India, spreading canard injuring every fabric of the country and pursuing acts inimical to country's interests. They are like others and law would take its course as it does with others.
            1. S
              Jun 6, 2017 at 5:04 pm
              Is PR or his sis is only media in country?
              1. R
                Jun 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm
                If it is not witch hunt, what do you call? Brazen attempts to muzzle press freedom. Modi is authoritarian and his thothas are singing to do their bit to follow.
                1. A
                  Jun 6, 2017 at 6:01 pm
                  So in your opinion NDTV means freedom. So they have freedom to cheat and impoverise its citizens. They are not above law and if a case is ins uted against ordinary citizens like them why should a PM be blamed. They are still functioning despite their regular tirde against the country, its people, culture and Ethos. In any other country by now they would have been shut down.
                2. H
                  Jun 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm
                  We are fully in support of Ndtv.it was really brave of Nidhi to kick out big mouth Samith Patra.It was best television moment.keep on doing good work NDTV.
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