[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a fresh case against NDTV Limited, its promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, former Chief Executive Officer and Director of NDTV Vikramaditya Chandra and unknown Income-Tax Department officials in a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) related case.
The FIR—which was registered two days ago—pertains to a preliminary enquiry into the allegations that between May 2004 and May 2010, NDTV floated around 32 subsidiary firms in “tax havens” with the “object of bringing tainted money of unknown public servants through a web of complex transactions”.
“lt is alleged that these transactions are sham transactions and the aforementioned funds are invested by unknown public servants through NDTV Ltd. and later laundered back to India through multiple layers of complex transactions and shell companies. Proceeds of corruption of unknown public servants were invested through NDTV Ltd,” it reads.
NDTV, however, has refuted the accusations. A statement put out on its website reads, “Despite a series of cases in which the investigation is deliberately stalled, agencies have found no evidence of any corruption by NDTV. Prannoy and Radhika Roy, the founders of NDTV, as also the company, have cooperated in all matters filed against them. As part of the continued persecution of free press, a new CBI case has been filed about a $150 million investment in NDTV’s non-news business by NBCU, then owned by General Electric, a massive American conglomerate. Asserting that 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.
“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.”