NDTV raids: India doesn’t require lesson on freedom of press from New York Times, says CBI

"India has a robust and independent judiciary that strongly protects democratic freedom and that an aggrieved person can always approach. India does not require any lesson on freedom of the press from The Times."

By: PTI | New York | Updated: June 17, 2017 1:04 am
NDTV, NDTV raids, CBI, cbi ndtv, freedom of press, New york times, journalism, india journalism, latest news, Veteran journalist and former Union Minister, Arun Shourie with veteran jurist Fali K Nariman and NDTV promoter Prannoy Roy at a protest meeting at Press Club of India in New Delhi on Friday against the CBI raids on news channel NDTV in an alleged financial fraud case. (PTI Photo by Subhav Shukla)

The CBI has responded strongly to a New York Times editorial on the NDTV raids, calling it “one-sided” and asserting India does not require “any lesson” on freedom of the press from the US daily. In response to the June 7 editorial ‘India’s Battered Press’, the CBI’s press information officer and spokesman R K Gaur said the editorial “gives the impression” that action is not being taken against other big loan defaulters and that the raids on NDTV’s founders were a part of a “vendetta” against the broadcaster.

“The editorial is one-sided and doesn’t consider the investigation history of the case” against RRPR Holdings, NDTV’s holding company, by different tax and law enforcement agencies in India since 2011, he said. Gaur said in the entire case against the NDTV “due process of law” is being followed.

“India has a robust and independent judiciary that strongly protects democratic freedom and that an aggrieved person can always approach. India does not require any lesson on freedom of the press from The Times,” he said in his letter to the Editor, adding “our institutions and traditions are nurtured by our rich and diverse cultural heritage and democratic ethos.”

The editorial had said that even as India’s state-owned banks are holding bad debt of about USD 186 billion, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “hesitated to go after big defaulters”. “But suddenly we have dramatic raids against the founders of an influential media company — years after a loan was settled to a private bank’s satisfaction,” the editorial said.

In his letter to NYT, Gaur said the Central Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating over 100 criminal cases worth a total loan default of over USD 5 billion.

“Many of the leading loan defaulters are behind bars, their assets attached, and prosecutions are being pursued vigorously in the courts,” he said. Gaur noted that ICICI bank’s loss is merely tip of the iceberg and that RRPR Holdings is also being investigated for irregularities in the mobilisation of funds used for loan repayment. He alleged there have also been serious defaults in tax payment.

To the NYT editorial’s assertion that NDTV Hindi was taken off the air for a day for reporting on a sensitive attack on an air base, Gaur said the decision was arrived at after a proper inquiry in which NDTV also participated.

“No democracy can allow the country’s security and public safety to be compromised by irresponsible reporting of terrorist incidents,” he said. The New York Times editorial board had said that press freedom in India “suffered a fresh blow” when the CBI raided homes and offices connected to founders of NDTV.

“The raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India’s news media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the editorial had said.

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  1. T
    Tanmay Shelar
    Jun 18, 2017 at 12:18 pm
    CBI is a joke to world and a tool to harras people in hands of govt..nothing more
    1. K
      Jun 17, 2017 at 5:28 pm
      Any thief when caught cries that other thiefs are not caught. Is it a defence. NDTV if has strong case should go to court. They know reality. In the name of journalism they indulged into all wrongs. Now when caught cries foul
      1. T
        Tanmay Shelar
        Jun 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm
        Ndtv has already gone to court 2 years back and case is in court but govt advocate by now has till date asked 12 times new date and the case is not yet have procedded any where. The ndtv till date has not asked even once a new date...this is fact ...fyi
      2. K
        Jun 17, 2017 at 5:23 pm
        You may not know the interest of NYT in NDTV. sab mile hai ji
        1. I
          inc in
          Jun 17, 2017 at 4:57 pm
          Freedom of speech is the first thing that a country loses when it's on the path of extremism and dictatorship​, and this is what is happening to India. Anyone with any opinion other than current government is anti national. Hitler was patriotic, nationalist, great speaker, and aroused these senses in it's people, and you know what happened then.
          1. B
            B P
            Jun 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm
            NYT should worry about its own freedom under Trump.
            1. P
              Parthapratim Bagchi
              Jun 17, 2017 at 11:54 am
              NYT shouldn't preach to the present BJP /NDA govt about the CBI raids on NDTV! The past governments of the USA ain't actually an epitome of virtue when it comes to democratic values...see its past record in interventions in Latin American governments also in Asia. What about its support to Pakistani regime which enables the Islamic terrorists to attack India in Kashmir not to forget 26/11 Mumbai attack! The raids on Pranoy Radhika Roy ain't political vendetta but investigation into money laundering. Kindly don't be selective patronising. Thank you.
              1. V
                Vamsi Krishna Pallapothula
                Jun 17, 2017 at 11:18 am
                Isn't this the same irresponsible news agency which got a huge blow ,when it mocked our Mangalyaan mission.
                1. K
                  Kiran Prakash Gupta
                  Jun 17, 2017 at 3:01 am
                  The western media is fraud.The US president himself has told so.
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