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NDTV Vows to “Fight Subterfuge” in 6-Point Response to Allegations

India is seeing a “politically motivated and vindictive campaign by the government authorities”, NDTV said.

Updated
India
5 min read
India is seeing a “politically motivated and vindictive campaign by the government authorities”, NDTV said. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>) &nbsp;

In a detailed statement on Tuesday, NDTV strongly countered what it termed “a series of unsubstantiated allegations” it says was leaked by the government against the news channel and its promoters.

According to NDTV, some allegations have been made against it on “an unsigned document”, anonymously, in what it says is an attempt at “subterfuge”.

“NDTV will fight this subterfuge transparently and openly in court,” the statement added.

Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation had raided residences of NDTV cofounders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy in New Delhi and Dehradun for alleged irregularities and fraud in a loan sanctioned by ICICI Bank. “The ruling party cannot tolerate our independence,” NDTV had retorted in an earlier statement. In the latest statement, NDTV reiterated that India was witnessing “an unsubstantiated, politically motivated and vindictive campaign by the government authorities”.

Here are six points on the basis of which NDTV argued the allegations were false and baseless.

Allegation 1: The government says it is looking into "undisclosed income" of NDTV of Rs 1,100 crore

The channel reiterated that there is no undisclosed income. It said that in 2008, American network NBC (an erstwhile subsidiary of General Electric or GE) invested $150 million in the channel and five years later, the income tax authorities, sans evidence, said that investment was:

  • A "sham transaction"
  • NBC/GE were involved in "round tripping"
  • NBC/GE acted as a front for "money laundering"

NDTV has maintained that the I-T department’s allegations are “wild and baseless”.



(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: The Quint)
“Moreover, how could the income be “undisclosed” when every detail of the $150 million dollars from NBCU/GE has been fully shared with the authorities, both in India and in the US? The annual reports of NBC and GE, plus filings with the American Security Exchange Commission (SEC) clearly mention the $150 million investment into NDTV.”

NDTV has said that the IRS and the SEC in the US have all the details of the transaction and can confirm the funds came from NBC.

Lastly, it said Narendra Modi regularly meets with GE CEO Jeffery Immelt, which then makes it seem that the Prime Minister regularly meets a "round-tripper" who acts as a "front" in sham transactions.

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Allegation 2: NDTV raised the money in "shell" companies which had "no real business and no employees"

The media company maintained that NDTV Networks was a holding company, and not a shell company. The RBI also recognises holding companies as legitimate, legal entities.

Assets/Subsidiaries Owned:



(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: The Quint)
“These were all valuable companies, which collectively had hundreds of employees. For reference — take a look at NDTV Convergence, which even today runs and owns all of NDTV’s digital assets including its website, app, mobile sites and social media accounts. How can you call this “no real business” or a “shell” company? The authorities are indulging in defamation.” 

NDTV Networks also had a CEO, CFO and a Compliance Officer appointed by NBCU as well as employees, with income getting generated from the assets it owned.

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Allegation 3: NDTV set up a number of other entities in foreign locations and then wound them up



(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: The Quint)

Leading global financial and legal firms, in compliance with relevant laws and regulations ,helped in setting up the companies.

“Once the entertainment channel (NDTV Imagine) was sold, there was no need to retain these.”
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Allegation 4: NDTV raised funds through "unidentified entities" in the British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, UK, USA, Switzerland, Netherlands, etc during the financial years 2007-2009

The channel clarified that the entities from which funds were raised have been identified and the relevant documents were submitted several years ago to governmental authorities.



(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: The Quint)

With the SC ruling, it’s legal to structure investments through the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Netherlands, etc.

NDTV clarifies that it raised funds transparently through Jefferies LLC, which is headquartered in New York, and submitted all the documentation to the government.

As for the Cayman Islands, the company said it has no office, account or any presence there.

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Allegation 5: After their $150 million investment, NBC and GE "laundered" unaccounted income of Rs 1,100 crore sent out of India by NDTV to the US using paper entities, and NBC and GE then sent the 1,000 crores back to India via "money laundering"

With reference to the laundering allegation, NDTV maintained that the accused isn’t the Indian company, but in fact GE.

“Their charge is essentially that GE took “undisclosed money”, laundered it, and then invested it back into NDTV Networks. Is there any evidence at all for this extraordinary charge on a top global company? None at all. Is it true? Of course not, and we have already referred to the extensive evidence that establishes.”


(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: The Quint)
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Allegation 6: A violation of Rs 2,030 crore

NDTV maintained it has not been a part of any transaction which has not been legitimate or legal.

(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: The Quint)

Read NDTV’s full statement here.

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