Who let NDTV, Prannoy Roy and his co-conspirators go scotfree as part of the Radia probe?
A PGurus exclusive compilation/ investigationiira Radia tapes are like a treasure trove of information. A lot of what is contained in them have not been researched or many more secrets would have come out by now. In this PGurus exclusive, we will shine the spotlight on one observation that a sitting Supreme Court judge (Justice Singhvi) made.
He (Justice Singhvi) further went on to find something extremely distressing and sensational – “There was actionable information but it was not followed up. Somebody is buying a media house from outside (the country)”.
While supervising the proceedings in the infamous Radia/ 2G scam probe, he made a scathing observation that there were many illegalities and that attention is only being paid to the 2G scam.
Economic Times, in their August 8, 2013 edition (see copy below) reported that the Honourable Justice Singhvi was quite livid while supervising the proceedings in the infamous Radia/ 2G scam probe. It was observed by the Court that Nira Radia tapes contained many illegalities spanning across sectors and the Honourable Judge was correct in commenting that “A liason officer is there in every nook and corner of governance”. Justice Singhvi went on to say “This is such a serious matter, but only attention was paid to 2G and rest of issues were sidelined”. The December 16, 2010 court order was clear that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would probe any First Information Report (FIR) registered or which may be registered (he said).
In fact, Justice Singhvi observed that the material available is much more than 2G and telecom is just one part. The Honourable Judge commented – “The conversations speak of multiple issues,” some dating back to four years and he observed the conversations have been available since August 2009.
He further went on to find something extremely distressing and sensational – “There was actionable information but it was not followed up. Somebody is buying a media house from outside (the country)”. This is one of the most revealing parts of the news item published across mainstream media and conveniently buried by all agencies and politicians of the UPA regime. PGurus.com has now put together some missing pieces of the puzzle and it seems to be clear as to which media house was changing control in a covert manner. See the timeline below:
|Date||Source||Comment/ Event||Implications/ Conclusions|
|July 9, 2009||Sans Serif Blog (below)||Niira Radia telling M. K. Venu (then of Econ Times) that they (along with Manoj Modi of Reliance) are meeting Prannoy to help him||But obvious that Nira Radia is trying to strike some sort of deal or favour from RIL group for Prannoy Roy / NDTV.|
|July 21, 2009||Income Tax filings in the Delhi HC and VCPL/ RRPR Agreement. (below)||Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd. and Vishwa Pradhan Commercial Pvt. Ltd. (VCPL) enter a “bogus” loan agreement of Rs. 350 crores. The signatory to the agreement is Mr. K.R. Raja (for VCPL) a RIL functionary also named by SFIO in the NewsX Investigations.||Prannoy and Radhika Roy effectively transfer ownership / control of NDTV to VCPL (a RIL group company as determined by Tax Dept). At this point, RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd. (RRPR) holds about 8% of NDTV and there is a pre-condition in the agreement that RRPR must hold 26%. Further, a “hawala” of USD 85 million needs to be done by Roys into NDTV India from overseas.|
|August 3, 2009||SEBI Filings with BSE/ NSE||Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy transfer 1.15 crore shares to RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd. in off market trades at Rs. 4/- per share when market price was above Rs. 130/-||Effectively, RRPR Holding P. Ltd. now has control over NDTV (news broadcaster) by 26% holding and the July 21, 2009 agreement. Thus, NDTV goes to the RIL fold through this covert arrangement.|
|August 5, 2009||Income Tax filings and BSE/ NSE filings.||RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd. receives Rs. 350 crores for the above transfer of 26%. Agreement clearly states a valuation of 1346 crores when the market cap of NDTV was below 800 crores.||Roys receive illegitimate consideration for stake sale at a substantial premium to market price i.e. over 65% as control premum as mentioned in the agreement.|
|March 8, 2010||Stock Exchange records and Tax Dept filings||Roys transfer another 3.18% equity into RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd. and through this transfer they generate illegitimate gains of Rs. 96 crores.||On the same day as VCPL gives money to RRPR Holding, Prannoy Roy siphons out 53.85 crores to his personal bank account.|
Here is a copy of the article in Economic Times, dated Aug 8th, 2013.
rom the above it is very clear that the entire records and conversation/ negotiations of this deal were available with Govt agencies. In fact, in Jan-June 2011 (as per Delhi High Court (HC) filings) the DG Investigation Income Tax (New Delhi) had determined that VCPL was nothing but a bogus shell company that took control of RRPR Holding from Roys thus effectively took control of NDTV. Sadly, no action was taken either by Income Tax Dept nor SEBI or ED on the above information. The funds that came into VCPL were through layered/ laundered transactions i.e. started from Reliance Ventures Ltd, then into Shinano Retail Pvt. Ltd., followed by VCPL and finally into RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd. All these transactions were nothing but a “smoke screen” to hide the real beneficiary/ owner.
To conclude, its time now that Modi regime wakes up to the biggest media scam and considers the “shady” ownership and dubious dealings of NDTV and its Promoters.
What is of intrigue and in fact completely illegal is the fact that control of a news broadcasting company licensed by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting transferred in a covert and fraudulent manner to RIL Group from Roys on 21st Jul 2009. In fact, it was this that Justice Singhvi commented upon that the ownership of a media house is being transferred/ negotiated. How is it that none of the Govt agenciens and most important SEBI (as NDTV is a listed Company) ignored this? More so, when on 15th Dec 2016, SEBI acknowledged and accepted in a filing with the Delhi HC that control of NDTV did change and Takeover Regulations were violated.
One wonders what was the political establishment doing i.e. Manmohan Singh govt? What were CBI, ED and DG Investigation doing sitting on this information? Why did SEBI Chairman hide this or bury this whole investigation? Was it due to some political influence or was this some politician’s money?
In fact, in Sept 2015 ED has done a filing in the Delhi HC where it states that NDTV Networks Plc (subsidiary of NDTV India) had its UK Office at the same location (postal address) where over 294 companies with investors/ shareholders having surnames like Chidambaram are running/ operating from. Does this mean something? Or is it serendipity?
To conclude, its time now that Modi regime wakes up to the biggest media scam and considers the “shady” ownership and dubious dealings of NDTV and its Promoters. In fact, it is most critical for the new SEBI Chairman and the CBI Director to consider all these aspects on a matter of national interest. More so when news media houses like NDTV set the public discourse/ opinion on lot of issues of national interest such as secularism, Kashmir and so called and much talked about “post-truth” etc. Not to mention, NDTV is a listed company that has over 40,000 shareholders and has a news broadcasting license from Govt of India. We the People need to know who is the real owner of NDTV and what backdoor shenanigans have the Roys been involved in and why Supreme Court directions were not followed. If PGurus can put together the entire sequence, its strange how our investigative agencies have kept quiet under the UPA regime (post that under the current FM) on the frauds of this media house.
Who was behind this cover up?
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.