CBI registers fresh case against NDTV founders Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy for violating FDI rules; channel denies charge

  • The CBI has booked NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and others for allegedly violating foreign direct investment rules

  • On Wednesday, a CBI team conducted searches at CEO VIkramaditya Chandra's residence, officials said

  • The CBI has alleged that NNPLC in 2009 got approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) board in violation of FDI rules

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and others for allegedly violating foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in a 2007-2009 investment, an allegation denied by the company.

Besides the Roys, the agency registered an FIR against then CEO Vikramaditya Chandra as well as unidentified government officials on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption, officials said on Wednesday.

 CBI registers fresh case against NDTV founders Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy for violating FDI rules; channel denies charge

File image of NDTV promoter Prannoy Roy. PTI

On Wednesday, a CBI team conducted searches at Chandra's residence, officials said.

Under the CBI scanner are investments made by NCBU, a General Electric company at the time, in Network PLC (NNPLC), an NDTV company incorporated in London on 30 November, 2006.

The CBI has alleged that NNPLC in 2009 got approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) board in violation of FDI rules. It said that the NNPLC received total FDI worth $163.43 million and invested the amount in various NDTV subsidiaries through a web of complex transactions.

In a statement, NDTV strongly denied the CBI's allegations.

"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," it said.

As part of "the continued persecution of free press", the statement said, a new CBI case has been filed about $150 million investment in NDTV's non-news business by NCBU, then owned by General Electric.

"The case makes the ludicrous charge that the transaction, declared to all relevant authorities in the US and India, laundered money for unknown public servants," it said.

The FIR is an outcome of a preliminary inquiry registered by the agency in 2016, the CBI officials said.

It is alleged that during May 2004 to May 2010, NDTV floated around 32 subsidiary firms all over the world, mostly in the tax havens of Holland, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius etc.

The CBI said most of these companies allegedly had no business transaction and were meant for financial transactions to bring funds from abroad. Terming the transactions a "sham", the agency alleged that funds were invested by unidentified public servants through NDTV and laundered back to India through multiple layers of complex transactions and shell companies.

"Proceeds of corruption of unknown public servants was invested through NDTV Ltd," it alleged.

Updated Date: Aug 21, 2019 17:05:40 IST