NDTV founders Radhika and Prannoy Roy have allegedly been prevented from leaving the country on the basis of a corruption case filed against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). A statement by NDTV has described the charges as “fake and wholly unsubstantiated.”
In a strong worded statement titled “Complete Subversion Of Media Freedom In Action Against NDTV Founders” alleged that this restriction on travel amounted to a subversion of “basic rights” and coercing media owners into “complete obeisance.”
Radhika and Prannoy Roy, reportedly, were stopped from flying at the Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Friday and are reportedly flying back to New Delhi.
According to sources, a look out circular was issued against Roy in a 2017 case.
“In a complete subversion of basic rights and in shameful continuance of the campaign to warn the media that nothing less than complete obeisance is acceptable, NDTV founders Radhika and Prannoy Roy were today prevented from leaving the country.”NDTV statement on Friday, 9 August
The CBI had carried out searches at the residences of the NDTV founders in Delhi and Dehradun on 5 June 2017 for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 48 crore to private bank ICICI.
The FIR lodged against the Roys stated that ICICI bank allegedly committed fraud by “facilitating transfer of ownership of a news broadcasting company to a shell company”.
NDTV has responded to this case stating that the case has been challenged in the Delhi High Court and has been pending for two years.
“They have been stopped on the basis of a fake and wholly unsubstantiated corruption case filed by the CBI about an ICICI loan that was taken by their company, RRPR, which was fully repaid with interest ahead of schedule,” the statement added.
“The authorities did not inform the court, where the matter is sub judice, or the Roys, about today’s action. It is, along with events like raids on media owners, a warning to the media to fall in line - or else.”NDTV statement
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 14 June had barred NDTV's three key promoters – Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and their holding firm RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd – from the securities markets for two years. SEBI also restrained the Roys from holding any board or top management role at NDTV in this period.
The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) had on 18 June granted a three-month stay on the SEBI’s order barring the Roys from continuing as directors of New Delhi Television Ltd, the operator of NDTV news channels.
NDTV said that it will file an appeal against SEBI’s decision to impose Rs 12 lakh penalty on the company for failing to make timely disclosures to the stock exchanges.
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