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CBI books NDTV promoters for FDI violations: report

NDTV has dismissed the allegations stating that they are ‘malicious’ and ‘fabricated’.

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MUMBAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked promoters of news channel NDTV, Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, former CEO and director Vikram Chandra and some Income Tax officials on charges of conspiracy, cheating and corruption. They are being accused of allegedly violating FDI rules between 2004 and 2010.

As per a report by Hindustan Times, NDTV has dismissed the allegations stating that they are ‘malicious’ and ‘fabricated’ so as to ‘silence free and fair reportage’.

The CBI is alleging that NDTV colluded with IT officials to bring tainted money into the system through a web of complex transactions through FDI. This was done by floating 32 subsidiaries in various tax havens across the world such as Mauritius, Netherlands, Dubai, UK and Malaysia. The CBI states that NDTV’s London company raised funds worth $120 million from two companies while the Netherlands company raised $150 million from NBCUniversal, which was at the time a subsidiary of General Electric Inc. The money was then routed to different NDTV Group subsidiaries such as NDTV Imagine Ltd, NDTV Life Style Ltd, NDTV Emerging Market BV, NDTV Convergence Ltd and NDTV Labs Ltd.

NDTV, in a written response, said, “As part of the continued persecution of free press, a new CBI case has been filed about a $150 million investment in NDTV’s non-news business by NBCU, then owned by General Electric, a massive American conglomerate. The case makes the ludicrous charge that the transaction, declared to all relevant authorities in the US and India, laundered money for unknown public servants.”

“Attempts to silence free and fair reportage through malicious and fabricated charges will not succeed. This is not about a company or individuals but about a larger battle to maintain the freedom of the press, something which India has always been renowned for,” the statement added.

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