In a statement, NDTV has called the charges 'ludicrous'.

NDTVs Prannoy and Radhika Roy ex-CEO booked by CBI for alleged FDI violations
news Fraud Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 16:40

A case has been filed against NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy for alleged violations of foreign direct investments rules. The others named in the FIR include late NDTV CEO Narayana KVL Rao, senior journalist Vikram Chandra, officials within NDTV and some unknown officials of the Income Tax Department. Vikram Chandra was earlier the director of NDTV but quit the company in 2016 to set up his own newsroom at Editorji.

According to CBI’s investigation, NDTV floated 32 shell companies between May 2004 to May 2010, mostly in countries such as Holland, UK, Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius, etc. CBI says that most of these companies didn’t do any business and were only floated to enable financial transactions to bring funds from abroad.

“lt is alleged that these transactions are sham transactions and aforementioned funds are invested by unknown Public Servants through NDTV Ltd. and later laundered back to lndia through multiple layers of complex transactions and shell companies. Proceeds of corruption of unknown public servants were invested through NDTV Ltd,” CBI alleges.

Listing some of the subsidiaries and transactions, CBI stated that NDTV allegedly incorporated ‘Network PLC (NNPLC)’ in London on November 10, 2006, which then received an investment of $20 million from Fuse Media Holding LP in March 2007 for 45%-5% effective stake. NNPLC also raised $100 million through investment banker Jefferies International by issue of step-up coupon convertible bonds in May 2007 where Jefferies received $5.5 million as commission.

Post this, NNPLC allegedly transferred around Rs 1,939.84 crore to various subsidiary companies of NDTV Group including NDTV Imagine, NDTV Life Style, NDTV Emerging Market BV, NDTV Convergence and NDTV Labs.

Other such companies were also incorporated in Netherlands, Mauritius and other countries, all of which raised funds which were then put into subsidiaries of NDTV in lndia.

CBI also alleges that NNPLC, London got approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, in violation of laid down FDI provisions for Foreign Direct lnvestment (FDl) worth $130-160 million. “Subsequently, M/s NNPLC London received total FDI worth USD 163.43 million till September 2009. Further, it invested the said amount in various subsidiaries of NDTV through a web of complex transactions,” CBI said. 

Taking these transactions into consideration, CBI alleges that NDTV, through its promoters Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, Late KVL Naryanan Rao and Vikramaditya Chandra entered into a criminal conspiracy with unknown public servants with the object of bringing their tainted money to India through the FDI route.

‘Charges ludicrous’

In a statement, NDTV has called the charges 'ludicrous' and has stated that till now, Prannoy and Radhika Roy, as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌company,  have cooperated in all matters filed against them.

"NDTV and its founders have full faith in India's judiciary at this crucial time and remain committed to the integrity of the company's journalism. 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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