The CBI on Monday searched the residence of NDTV founder Prannoy Roy here and three other locations for allegedly causing losses to a private bank, a move termed by NDTV as a "witch-hunt" based on "same old" false accusations.
The agency has registered a case against Roy, his wife Radhika and RRPR Holdings for allegedly causing losses of Rs 48 crore to ICICI Bank, CBI sources said. They said the agency was conducting searches at four places in the national capital and Dehradun.
CBI confirms raids going on at Co-Founder and Executive Co-Chairperson of NDTV, Prannoy Roy's residence in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/yZ1LBbLpEb
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 5, 2017
CBI registered a case against Prannoy, Radhika Roy and others for causing an alleged loss to ICICI bank to the tune of 48 Crore: CBI Sources
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 5, 2017
According to a report in The Hindu, searches were conducted at the residence of the Roys at Greater Kailash-I in New Delhi. The report further added that four locations, including Delhi and Dehradun, are under the scanner. In one of the first reactions, BJP's Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy said, "Fear of law is necessary and it should be applied no matter who you are."
NDTV issued a statement post the raids.
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.
Business Standard columnist on strategic affairs Ajai Shukla, in a series of tweets, called the early morning raids at Roy's residence as "watershed moment for free media in India." Dubbing the current central government as 'goonda raj,' Shukla implied anyone critical of the government will be "crushed by the official machinery."
CBI raid on @PrannoyRoyNDTV is watershed for free media in India. Media house's reactions will go down in history, just as in the Emergency.
— Ajai Shukla (@ajaishukla) June 5, 2017
Prannoy Roy of NDTV being raided by IT Dept. India officially a Goonda Raj, anyone critical of govt will be crushed by official machinery. — Ajai Shukla (@ajaishukla) June 5, 2017
NDTV anchor and journalist Nidhi Razdan also tweeted out on the independence of media in India:
A message to those in the media who are still independent and do their job by fearlessly asking questions. We won't be intimidated https://t.co/sNC7pEPnOW
— Nidhi Razdan (@RazdanNidhi) June 5, 2017
Editor of Strategic Affairs at The Indian Express, Praveen Swami also tweeted out in support of Roy and likened the situation to Emergency.
NDTV journalist Sreenivasan Jain reacted too calling it as a "black day":
Message is clear: any independent voices in media will be bullied and shut down. Black day. https://t.co/lKE93K29cp
— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) June 5, 2017
In November 2015, the Enforcement Directorate had slapped a Rs 2,030-crore notice on NDTV for allegedly violated Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) provisions for routing huge funds through the channel's foreign units. The notice was also served to promoters Roy, wife Radhika and senior executive KVL Narayan Rao stated that NDTV had violated RBI provisions on funds transfer.
NDTV says will fight against 'witch-hunt'
In a statement released after the raids, NDTV termed the move by CBI as a "witch-hunt" based on "same old" false accusations.
"This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations," the NDTV statement said.
It said that NDTV and its promoters would 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," it said.
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2017 16:16 PM