Making things worse for NDTV, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has informed the Delhi High Court that they have registered a case against NDTV and Prannoy and Radhika Roy controlled RRPR Holdings under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for various instances of money trail and parking through foreign subsidiaries and round-tripping. On a petition filed by the minority shareholder Sanjay Dutt and Quantum Securities Pvt. Limited, Justice Indermeet Kaur directed the ED to file a detailed status report on the probe under PMLA.
These developments have made NDTV’s future bleak, especially after the collapse of SpiceJet owner Ajay Singh’s bid to take over the loss-making company.
Unhappy with the delay in action, the Court said that the status report should be filed by a Joint Director level officer. The next hearing of the case is posted for February 8, 2018. The Court also posted the minority shareholder’s complaint against Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for inaction on NDTV’s illegalities in the stock market to January 11, 2018.
Registering a case under PMLA is a nightmare for the promoters of the company as the persons behind the money laundering will be charged in their personal capacity. The punishment is a minimum of three years and can go up to a maximum of seven years of imprisonment. As the First Information Report (FIR) registered under PMLA is against NDTV and its promoters’ privately controlled company Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy (RRPR) Holdings, it is certain that Mr. and Mrs. Roy will have to face the music of law for money laundering. RRPR Holdings has only two shareholders with 50 percent each – Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy. The shell company is also facing a CBI probe and husband and wife are expected to be summoned by the agency soon in the ICICI Bank loan fraud case.
Income Tax has already informed the Delhi High Court that they have finished their job by putting a huge fine on NDTV for tax evasion. Noting Sanjay Dutt’s argument on delays in probe agencies against the TV channel company, the High Court has ordered for an immediate probe. Last week, the Income Tax Department has attached 30 percent shares of NDTV controlled by RRPR Holdings.
These developments have made NDTV’s future bleak, especially after the collapse of SpiceJet owner Ajay Singh’s bid to take over the loss-making company. According to Stock Exchange operators, though on the books it is shown as being under the control of the Roys and their shell company, a major chunk of shares are actually controlled by Mukesh Ambani linked/ associated firms.
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