NDTV network founder Prannoy Roy on Friday said the CBI case against him was "ridiculous and a concocted set of facts" and asserted that he and his wife Radhika Roy "never touched black money and never bribed even a single person" in their lives.
Speaking at a protest meet organised at the Press Club of India following CBI searches at his houses, Roy vowed to fight the charges openly and transparently and called for a time-bound inquiry.
"This is not about NDTV, this is a signal for all of us. And the fact that there is no case, but a flimsy, ridiculous, concocted set of facts," Roy said.
"They are trying to tell us - 'We can suppress you even if you have done nothing wrong'. They are telling us 'We will fix you even if you are innocent'. Remember that signal and fight it. We must... Be clear it's a signal for the entire free press of India," he said.
He said that freedom of press was precious and should be guarded staunchly. "Let's not lose it, let's treasure it," he said.
The protest meet was attended by a large number of well-known journalists.
Attacking the government, Roy said journalists should stand up to all pressures.
"Their (government's) basic idea is crawl or we will come and get you. So stand up, they will never come for you. Mark my words," he said.
Noting that his fight was not against investigative agencies but against politicians, Roy said: "Our fight is not against the CBI or Income tax or Enforcement Directorate, it is against politicians, who are manipulating and want to eviscerate these institutions. They want to disembowel them."
Roy also said the petitioner in the case, Sanjay Dutt, was being used as a tool and being exploited.
"I commit to you we will answer every one of these false charges openly and transparently. All I ask is please make it a time bound process. We would just love that," he said.
Roy also said that the houses they bought were purchased with white money.
The CBI this week searched the houses of Roy for allegedly causing financial losses to ICICI Bank.
The agency registered a case against Roy, his wife, a private company and conducted searches at his south Delhi residence in Greater Kailash-I and his house in Dehradun for "loss of Rs 48 crore" to the bank.
Amid protest by journalists, NDTV had said the CBI had "stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations" and that the raid was "a blatant political attack on the freedom of the press".
While referring to the raids on Prannoy Roy, noted jurist Fali Nariman who was present at the protest meet said that nobody is immune from being prosecuted under a criminal offence but the manner, circumstances of the attack raise suspicion and lead me to believe that is an unjustified attack on press and media freedom. He referred to the fact the CBI lodged an FIR on June 2, seven years after the event and questioned why it was not brought to light earlier.
Here is the video of his speech.