Ravi Prakash, journalist and the former CEO of Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABCPL), the parent company of TV9, was taken into custody by the Banjara Hills police on Saturday morning.
The police in Hyderabad are presently investigating a case of forgery and cheating against Ravi Prakash, who was forced to step down earlier this year, after the Board of ABCPL passed a resolution revoking all powers vested with him.
Speaking to TNM, the police confirmed that they had taken Ravi Prakash into custody. In a complaint filed with the Banjara Hills police in September, the company's new management had alleged that Ravi Prakash and Murthy drew "huge sums from the bank accounts of the company without substantiating any entitlement under law or following the prescribed procedure".
According to the complaint, Ravi Prakash drew a total of Rs 6.36 crore between September 2018 and May 2019, while Murthy drew Rs 5.97 crore during the same time period, and allegedly tried to pass it off as a bonus and ex-gratia with "antedated documents without passing a proper board resolution."
This move was done "with a dishonest and fraudulent intention to cause wrongful loss to the company," the complaint alleged.
The complaint stated that the Board of Directors held a meeting on September 24, where they had detailed deliberations on the withdrawal of the amounts and decided to initiate legal proceedings to recover the money.
The dispute relates to Alanda Media buying more than 90.54% stake in TV9 recently. The company has alleged that Ravi Prakash actively opposed Alanda's move to appoint four directors and he had 'malafide intention'.
However, Ravi Prakash had alleged that the 'hostile takeover' was an attack on press freedom, and blamed industrialists Jupally Rameshwar Rao, owner of real estate company My Home Group, and Krishna Reddy of Megha Engineering and Infrastructure limited (MEIL) of arm twisting the management.
Taking to Twitter, journalist and former CEO of Telugu news outlet Mojo TV, Revathi Pogadadanda, said that 10 uniformed police personnel visited Ravi Prakash's house and asked him to come to the police station to serve him a notice.
She also alleged that there was pressure on Tolivelugu, a website run by Ravi Prakash, to remove certain interviews of Krishna Reddy and Rameshwar Rao.
There was pressure on Tolivelugu website team that is run by Ravi ji to remove certain interviews of #MeghaKrishna Reddy and Rameshwara Rao.— Revathi (@revathitweets) October 5, 2019
Revathi was arrested and let off on conditional bail earlier this year, and has alleged harassment by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)-led state government for the last few months, ever since a case was booked against her mentor Ravi Prakash.
Ravi Prakash had been heading TV9 channel since its launch in 2004. The police had earlier booked criminal cases against Ravi, former TV9 Co-founder M K V N Murthy and actor S Shivaji on two complaints by Alanda Director P Kaushik Rao.