A DAY after the CBI registered an FIR against NDTV founders Radhika Roy, Prannoy Roy, their company RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd, and officials of ICICI Bank, and conducted searches at their residences, the agency on Tuesday said it had examined the complainant in the case, Sanjay Dutt. The CBI also sought names of ICICI Bank officials who were instrumental in the grant of Rs 350-crore loan to RRPR Holding, the agency said.
While the CBI had examined Dutt earlier, this is the first time since the FIR was registered that the agency called him and sought relevant documents, officials said. The CBI also issued a clarification, stating that the decision to carry out raids was taken after observing due process of law, and that the agency “fully respects freedom of press”.
The CBI’s statement comes after various media organisations and the Editors Guild of India expressed concern over the searches. “Entry of police and other agencies into the media offices is a serious matter,” the Guild had said in a statement. In a statement on Tuesday, the CBI said it has not conducted any searches at the registered office of NDTV, its studio or newsroom, or premises connected with media operations. “(The) CBI fully respects freedom of press and is committed to free functioning of news operations,” it said.
It clarified that allegations under investigation are not regarding default in loan repayment by NDTV. The allegations “relate to wrongful gain of Rs 48 crore to the promoters — Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd — and a corresponding wrongful loss to ICICI Bank, arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy,” the CBI said. “The investigation is being conducted as per due process of law and under the jurisdiction of the court of law,” the statement said.