No political interference: Naidu
New Delhi: The CBI on Monday carried out searches at the residence of NDTV founder Prannoy Roy for allegedly concealing a share transaction from the SEBI and causing a loss to a private bank, a move termed by the channel as a “witch-hunt” based on “same old” false accusations.
The CBI has registered a case against RRPR Holding pvt limited, Pranoy Roy, his wife Radhika and unidentified officials of ICICI Bank of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption.
RRPR Holdings had allegedly taken a loan of Rs 500 crore from India Bulls Private Limited to purchase 20 per cent shares of NDTV from the public.
The FIR said that a loss of Rs 48 crore was caused to ICICI bank and consequent gain by RRPR. The searches took place at two locations in Delhi and one each in Dehradun and Mussoorie. A CBI team was conducting raids in Dehradun, CBI SP Sujit Kumar said.
The NDTV said a statement, “This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations.” It said NDTV and its promoters would fight tirelessly against this witch-hunt by multi-ple agencies.
“We will not succumb to these attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India. We have one message to those who are trying to destroy the institutions of India and everything it stands for: we will fight for our country and overcome these forces,” it said.
The CBI spokesperson strongly denied the witch-hunt allegations levelled by NDTV and said the agency was following procedures laid in the law. Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said there was no political interference in the CBI raids on Roy’s properties and the law was taking its course.
“If somebody does something wrong simply because they belong to media, you cannot expect the government to keep quiet,” Naidu told reporters.
The officials were doing their duty and there is no political interference in this, he said, adding that media was free and in-dependent in the country. “The CBI might have received some information. That is why they have taken action,” Naidu said.