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Raids on NDTV Draw Flak

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Actress Deepika Padukone with Dr. Prannoy Roy, Founder & Executive Co-Chairperson, NDTV Malvinder Mohan Singh, Executive Chairman, Fortis Healthcare, and Shivinder Mohan Singh, Executive Vice-Chairman, Fortis Healthcare and others at the launch of `NDTV Fortis Health4U` campaign in New Delhi on Sept 12, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal among several prominent personalities condemned a CBI raid at NDTV founder Prannoy Roy’s residence here over an alleged bank loan default and said it was an attempt to “silence anti-establishment voices”.

Dr Prannoy Roy

“We strongly condemn raids on (Prannoy) Roy and NDTV group. It’s an attempt to silence independent and anti-establishment voices,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said in a tweet.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against Roy, his wife Radhika Roy, a private company and others and conducted searches at Roy’s Greater Kailash-I residence in south Delhi.

In a statement posted on its website, NDTV stated:
“This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations.

NDTV and its promoters will fight tirelessly against this witch-hunt by multiple 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.”

Pioneers of Indian television, Prannoy, his wife Radhika Roy, and other senior members of the NDTV management have been facing accusations of money laundering through one of the subsidiaries of NDTV.

Praveen Swami, editor, strategic affairs of Indian Express tweeted: Today’s CBI raid on @PrannoyRoyNDTV is a defining moment: the last time this sort of thing happened was during the Emergency

Last year, BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy had sent a letter to PM Modi seeking a CBI and ED probe into charges of money laundering. Swamy had demanded that the CBI and ED question NDTV Network PLC’s (NNPLC) shareholders.

Caravan reported in December 2015 that a “series of financial transactions that the Roys have carried out from the mid-2000s onwards have been under close investigation by government agencies. If the agencies’ allegations are proven true, they could severely undermine NDTV’s hard-won reputation, and the TRUST Prannoy has been so keen to earn and retain.”

In December 2016, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had initiated proceedings against NDTV and its promoters for not having made a public announcement in 2009 of a ‘change of control’ in the television company. Earlier in June 2015, SEBI had imposed a Rs. 2 crore fine on NDTV for “non-disclosure of material information to the stock exchanges.”

Last week, NDTV had announced that it will shut down its business channel NDTV Profit and turn into a full-time infotainment and entertainment channel, to be rebranded as NDTV Prime.

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