Television

NDTV moves Delhi HC challenging CBI raids

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NEW DELHI: The Prannoy Roy family-promoted NDTV has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the raids conducted by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the residence of its promoters.

In a notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange, the company said, “NDTV and its promoter company filed a writ in the Delhi High Court (on 6 July 2017) challenging the CBI raids and the FIR (first information report) issued by CBI. NDTV is pleased that the court has directed the CBI to submit a status report by 21 September, 2017.”

The publicly traded company, which also at one time had investments from American company GE via a group media company for a venture, further informed the stock markets it would not like to comment on the matter further as it was “now sub- judice”.

In June 2017, the CBI had raided the residence of the Roy family alleging that the promoters and a private company linked to the Roys, RRPR Holding Private Ltd, were involved in defrauding a private sector bank, ICICI Bank, and allegedly causing it losses involving loans extended in 2008.

The raids had come within a few days after a female NDTV news anchor had politely ticked off a belligerent spokesperson from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the lead political party in the NDA government that rules the country, during a TV debate, which had prompted a large section of the Indian society, including the Roys, to dub the raids by federal investigating agency as a “witch hunt” against media not toeing a government-handed political narrative.

Minister for information and broadcasting M. Venkaiah Nadu, however, last month had brushed aside criticism relating to government efforts to muzzle a free media saying the CBI raids and media freedom were two unconnected issues.

For NDTV -- considered a sort of media nursery for TV journalism in India after the country allowed in mid-1990s private sector players to enter the business of broadcasting dominated till then by pubcaster Doordarshan and All India Radio -- this was not the first brush with controversy. Earlier also unsubstantiated allegations relating to financial misdeeds had been leveled against NDTV and some group companies.

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