FIPB clearance scam in NDTV just like AirAsia? Is CBI looking at this also?

NDTV also committed illegalities in FIPB clearance when getting funding into the country

NDTV also committed illegalities in FIPB clearance when getting funding into the country
NDTV also committed illegalities in FIPB clearance when getting funding into the country

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Finance Ministry, ED and CBI must act.

After registration of a First Information Report (FIR) by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the AirAsia matter, PGurus carried out research on similar such clearances/ deals during the UPA regime that may prima facie look suspect or a similar modus operandi may have been used.

Hola! (pardon our Spanish) What do we find?

The usual suspects again – NDTV & Promoters!

NDTV received Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to bring FDI into its Indian companies (subsidiaries) on March 5, 2007. The subsidiaries being – NDTV Imagine, NDTV Convergence, NDTV Labs & NDTV Lifestyle (i.e. non-news businesses / channels) that are in businesses not strictly regulated (Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap etc) i.e. non-news. What of course is known to all and is a matter of intrigue that this clearance was given to NDTV Networks Plc, London (which by itself was then a 100% owned “khokha”/ shell company of NDTV, the Indian listed company). Strange? Get FIPB clearance for one overseas shell company to invest in other Indian shell companies!

A copy of the FIPB clearance is reproduced at the end of this post.

Now let us examine some of the conditions imposed in the FIPB clearances (extracted below):

Extract from FIPB clearance rules
Fig 1. Extract from FIPB clearance rules

Points 4 and 5 above are very clear; they were required to do an Initial Public Offering (IPO) / Public Offering in NDTV Networks Plc, London and the valuation of FDI / Shares that was to be done for bringing in money to subsidiaries – NDTV Imagine, NDTV Lifestyle, NDTV Convergence etc was to be done as per RBI and SEBI approved guidelines.

However, both these conditions were never adhered to and were blatantly breached.  The paragraph from the ITAT (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) Order makes this very clear (see below):

Extract from ITAT ruling
Fig 2. Extract from ITAT ruling

It is easily seen from the Order above (subsequently, it also stood scrutiny of the Delhi High Court (HC) in a Writ/ Appeal) that neither NDTV UK Plc did an IPO, not did it get any fair valuation done, and of course never followed SEBI / RBI norms that were mandated by FIPB. Well, what happened to checks/ monitoring by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and of course the Finance Ministry (then under Mr. Chidambaram).

In fact, the biggest offense committed by NDTV Promoters and Management has been the fact that they brought in the money for use by the news business through dubious means and never paid a penny as taxes! What is more incriminating is the fact that NDTV (Executive Director) has admitted to this crime. Do read the extract below from the filings done by Income Tax Department in the Delhi High Court in Writ Petition No. 984 of 2015 (filed on August 1, 2016).

We all know that now in May 2018, the Income Tax Department has also initiated criminal prosecution on this matter.

Statement of NDTV CEO KVL Narayan Rao
Fig 3. Statement of NDTV CEO KVL Narayan Rao

We wonder why the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and Ministry of Finance are not acting. An FIR is already registered by CBI and in fact, they should immediately summon MIB officials and check as to why they have not acted till now as MIB Regulations have been flouted blatantly and they were aware of it since 2011-2013. Not only that, they were supposed to ensure compliance with the FIPB Approval (refer Point 6 in the FIPB Approval). Further, CBI needs to examine quid pro quo in grant of such a “shady” approval i.e 100% subsidiary (overseas and not having anything I.e. a shell company) being allowed to invest in other controlled subsidiaries based in India? How come approvals were granted through a third party (a law firm)? Surely, NDTV itself had enough credibility to apply and receive approvals, why would they need any middleman to do this? Besides, most importantly the money not being used for the purpose and actually routed back to India and deployed in the news business when such investment from overseas was barred (self-admission by an Executive Director, reproduced above).

In addition, many other FIPB conditions were blatantly flouted and no one in the Finance Ministry or Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has bothered to act against NDTV management. Read some below (extracted from the approval letter):

List of FIPB Restrictions
Fig 4. FIPBRestrictions

It is imperative for CBI to get all email trails and more importantly bank account statements and examine them for fund movements and other activities (during the relevant time period). It’s quite possible that money moved from NDTV to a “middleman” and then further on for these clearances etc. This angle needs to be examined as the whole clearance itself seems dubious and the subsequent self-admission by a Director before the Income Tax Authorities makes is further suspect. Why is it that Ministry of Information and broadcasting is sitting on all evidence and complaints on this matter since October – November 2013 when the matter was referred to it by the Enforcement Directorate? Surely, there is some invisible hand at work that is stopping them from acting. Is that hand now still meddling or a tad “shaky” (unwell)? The Prime Minister’s Office and concerned people in power need to act immediately.

Here is a copy of the FIPB approval:

FIPBApprovalDoc-007 by PGurus on Scribd

Team PGurus

We are a team of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Modiji will never ho after UPA scams. BJP used it to grab the power.. public never bother about corrupted politicans, but cannot tolerate back stabbers like bjp,narendramodi.. Whenever there is issue,he takes flights to combodia, mangolia,khajakstan or some other stan!! he is eagerly waiting for a call from Kim, North Korea!!! So, dont ever depend on modi… waste fellow…now all sympathizers will work against modi..

    • u will be only one working against him. If u want u attack the real minister, y modi? In UPA these names did not even surface. No corrupt politician name came out during NDA too. Now it has started. Modi is the only hope for India under current circumstances. Ofcos there is Swamy but he is for some reason allienated from ministry.

  2. Why not the PM sack all the existing officers in Finance Ministry after through probing and appoint fresh officers who takes action? That should be first action.

  3. Volumes & volumes of analysis, news report, new flashes have been reported on the trillion dollar scams of Chidambaram, NDTV, MA-BETA.

    If an Individual Swamiji and group of Think Tank (PGurus) possess so much evidence and key information on these scams it is unlikely that ED, CBI & other investigation agencies do no have these facts & figures.

    In spite of these facts & despite the fact a new Government under NDA was formed solely on the corruption issue – not a single arrest has been made of any of these key Mafia figures even after a full 4 years have gone by.

    I am scared to even think about the situation wherein Swami was not as public-spirited as he is

    It took 4 years to snatch our Finance Ministry, ED, CBI from UPA & bring under the control of NDA. The situation now gives a ray of hope albeit to a small extent

    But how far this Govt will succeed in incarcerating the UPA Mafia key figures in this short one year remains to be seen.

    This Govt never fails to boast about establishing an SIT to trace & bring back the Black Money from tax-havens abroad. In addition to SIT, ‘Fast Track Courts’ too should have been created simultaneously for political scamsters.

    While the Investigation wing seems to have picked up due to continuous pressure from Swami, the prosecution part has not been taken care of resulting in the acquittals of dreaded criminals like Raja, Kanimozhi, Maran brothers.

    Even Charge Sheets have not been filed against Chidambaram, Manmohan till date despite the fact they were the king pins of the series of mega loots.

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