On Monday, The Central Bureau of Investigation searched the residences of NDTV news channel promoters Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhik Roy in connection with an alleged bank fraud.
Prannoy Roy is the executive chairman and co-founder of the NDTV. Roy founded the TV network along with his wife Radhika in 1988.
CBI confirms raids going on at Co-Founder and Executive Co-Chairperson of NDTV, Prannoy Roy’s residence in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/rgioj3624m— ANI (@ANI_news) June 5, 2017
The case reportedly relates to a bank loan default of Rs 48 crore taken from ICICI bank. According to the FIR filed, the loan defaulted by NDTV’s Prannoy Roy is for a company named RRPR holdings private limited.
Soon after the raids, NDTV issued a statement, terming the move as a “witch-hunt” based on “same old” false accusations.
When asked about the CBI raids, Information and Broadcast Minister Venkaiah Naidu told Indian Express, “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.”
However, many are suspecting that this is clearly a case of political vendetta as NDTV is considered the least-government friendly by the BJP. Many influential media persons took to Twitter to criticise the move and stood in support of Roy
Caged parrot flaps its wings. As big defaulters sit pretty, CBI raid on @NDTV is attack by Modi govt on media that won’t play cheerleader.— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) June 5, 2017
Alleged that Roys owe banks Rs 48 crore. Adanis owe banks 72000 crore:https://t.co/Nhb6ru4BkVMay we expect Gautam bhai to be raided next?— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) June 5, 2017
Indian Express’s Praveen Swami likened the situation to Emergency
Today’s CBI raid on @PrannoyRoyNDTV is a defining moment: the last time this sort of thing happened was during the Emergency— Praveen Swami (@praveenswami) June 5, 2017
Ajai Shukla of Business Standard called the move as ‘goonda raj’
Prannoy Roy of NDTV being raided by IT Dept. India officially a Goonda Raj, anyone critical of govt will be crushed by official machinery.— Ajai Shukla (@ajaishukla) June 5, 2017
NDTV anchor Nidhi Razdan, who was in the news recently for throwing BJP leader Sambit Patra out of her show, also tweeted out on independence of media in India. Many are seeing Razdan’s action as the sudden provocation behind CBI’s actions
A message to those in the media who are still independent and do their job by fearlessly asking questions. We won’t be intimidated https://t.co/sNC7pEPnOW— Nidhi Razdan (@RazdanNidhi) June 5, 2017
NDTV Managing Editor Sreenivasan called it a ‘black day’
Message is clear: any independent voices in media will be bullied and shut down. Black day. https://t.co/lKE93K29cp— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) June 5, 2017
Raid on @PrannoyRoyNDTV for a 2010 case in 2017? CBI/IT must put details in public fora else will face charge of vendetta against media.— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) June 5, 2017
Stand by freedom of Press, speech & expression, law & justice. It is pathetic IF raids against #PrannoyRoy are out of vindictive politics.— Aarti Tikoo Singh (@AartiTikoo) June 5, 2017
Many instances in the past indeed point to animosity between BJP and NDTV
Last year, in November, the Union government had ordered NDTV to be blacked out for allegedly revealing “strategically sensitive information” during Pathankot terror attack.
In November 2015, the Enforcement Directorate had slapped a Rs 2,030-crore notice on NDTV for allegedly violated Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) provisions for routing huge funds through the channel’s foreign units.
Earlier, Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy had penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing NDTV of money laundering. He had requested PM to ask CBI to file a case against NDTV under the Prevention of Corruption Act.