The allegation based on a private complaint was related to the default on loan payment of Rs 48 crore taken from ICICI Bank.

Case registered against NDTV after due diligence no witch-hunt CBI issues statementTwitter
news Media Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 18:45

In the continuing battle between CBI and NDTV over the raids that were carried out, the former on Tuesday issued a statement claiming that there was no “witch-hunt”.

It further said that the case was registered “based on the complaint of a shareholder of ICICI bank and NDTV after carrying out due diligence”.

Here is the full text of CBI’s statement:

Reports in sections of the media have raised certain issues and the statement issued by NDTV has levelled certain allegations against the CBI investigation in the case relating to the promoters of NDTV and others.

It is clarified that searches have been carried out at the premises of the promoters and their offices based on search warrants issued by the Competent Court. CBI has not conducted any search of registered office of NDTV, media studio, news room or premises connected with media operations. CBI fully respects the freedom of press and is committed to the free functioning of news operations.

CBI has registered the case based on the complaint of a shareholder of ICICI bank and NDTV after carrying out due diligence. Denigrating the allegations at this stage of investigation and wrongly accusing the agency of acting under pressure is uncalled for and an attempt to malign the image of the CBI. The investigation is being conducted as per the due process of law and under the jurisdiction of the Court of law. The result of investigation will be filed before the competent Court of law based on the evidence adduced during investigation.

It has been mentioned in the statement of NDTV that NDTV and its promoters have never defaulted on any loan. The allegations under investigation are not regarding the default in loan repayment; but relate to the wrongful gain of Rs 48 crore to the promoters — Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy, M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd and a corresponding wrongful loss to the ICICI bank arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy.

It is alleged in the complaint that the promoters of NDTV —Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy and M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd, acting in criminal conspiracy with unknown officials of ICICI bank, violated section 19(2) of the Banking Regulation Act, the Master Circular DBOD No. Dir B90/13.07.05/98-99 dated 28.08.1998 of the Reserve Bank of India and in furtherance of the conspiracy, ICICI bank took the entire shareholding of the promoters in NDTV (nearly 61 %) as collateral and then accepted prepayment of the loan by reducing the interest rate from 19 % p.a to nearly 9.5 % p.a and as a consequence thereof, causing a wrongful loss of ₹48 crore to ICICI bank and a corresponding wrongful gain to the promoters of NDTV — Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy and M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd.

NDTV in its statement questions the jurisdiction of CBI by stating that ICICI is a private bank. It is clarified that the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Ramesh Gelli vs CBI of 2016, held that the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 are applicable to the officials of private banks. Therefore, CBI has jurisdiction to take up investigation of the cases of private banks.

We urge all concerned to exercise restraint and to cooperate with the investigation. CBI is committed to carrying out the investigation expeditiously and in accordance with the due process of law. CBI reiterates its commitment to the motto i.e. Industry, Impartiality and Integrity.

It is requested that the full text of the above clarification may please be telecast in your channel at the earliest / published prominently in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Earlier on Monday, after NDTV termed the raids by CBI a “witch hunt by multiple agencies”, the news channel issued a detailed statement later in the day stating that what was shocking is that the searches happened without even conducting a preliminary enquiry.

NDTV further said that this was an outright political attack on the freedom of the press.

According to sources, the CBI had filed the FIR under pressure based on a complaint by a discontented former employee of NDTV called Sanjay Dutt, who has been making false allegations, the channel said. He has also been filing cases in various courts but has not obtained a single order.

The allegation based on a private complaint was related to the default on loan payment of Rs 42 crore taken from ICICI Bank through a subsidiary RRPR Holding Private Ltd. However, the channel claims that the loan was repaid more than seven years ago.

It further said the allegation that no disclosure was made to SEBI and other regulatory authorities was false and also did not empower the CBI to register cases against it, which further proves that the raids are a witch-hunt against independent media.

“We adhere to the highest levels of integrity and independence. It is clearly the independence and fearlessness of NDTV's team that the ruling party's politicians cannot stomach and the CBI raid is merely another attempt at silencing the media,” the channel said.

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