Conflicting reports of change in ownership
I told you so. This was my first thought that came to my mind when I read the front page news on Indian Express of Ajay Singh (of SpiceJet, ex OSD) acquiring NDTV. I was pleased as punch that my prediction had come true almost to the rupee! But to my surprise, Pranayama James Roy’s good friend N Ram owned/ published The Hindu, came out with a rebuttal of the Indian Express story.
The Hindu went on to quote a senior NDTV official who said that there was no truth to the story that appeared in the Indian Express and that not one sentence in that story was true.
Just moments ago, an official press release has come from NDTV denying reports of a sale to Ajay Singh. Addressed to the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange), NDTV said that the reports of a sale are absolutely not true (see Figure 1 below).
What is really going on?
Readers of PGurus may already know that the change of ownership of NDTV has been done twice already! In my book NDTV Frauds, I had detailed how the Roys had sold the company to VCPL (Vishwapradhan Commercial Pvt. Ltd.) and that this ownership transfer is still in dispute.
Then a few months ago, violating the directions of the Income Tax Department, NDTV sells 4 outfits to the Coal Scam accused KJS Group. In a declaration submitted to Stock Exchanges on June 23, NDTV said they have sold companies like NDTV Lifestyle, NDTV Convergence, NDTV Worldwide, NDTV Ethnic Retail Limited to the Nameh Hotels and Resorts Private Limited. It is learnt that all these companies who are just owning websites were sold at a pittance of just Rs. Two Crores! This sale was approved through a Postal Ballot by NDTV and was in clear violation of the recent Income Tax Order which banned NDTV from the sale of any assets.
Now the news that SpiceJet owner Ajay Singh has acquired NDTV for a sum of around Rs. 100 crores.
Business Standard today, had an interesting take on this news. Citing Sanjay Dutt, (ahem!) PGurus, Dr. Subramanian Swamy and S. Gurumurthy as being opposed to the deal, the article said that Singh may have picked up a 40 percent stake in the NDTV. It went on to caution that this purchase may not be smooth sailing for Singh. Hint to Biz Std. – While a mention of our site is good, it would have been great if the story itself was provided to the reader as a link. Here is the story that Biz Std. referred to.
What lies ahead for NDTV?
If it is not clear already to the discerning readers, it should be, by now. Someone high up in the Government is playing both sides.
Isn’t it time that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate(ED), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Income Tax come out and take a stand that no such change in ownership or any such transactions in whichever form undertaken are illegal. All the agencies are investigating the Promoters illegal acts and further matters are in Courts also. Maybe, they can’t as the person playing both sides is interfering in their work?
It’s time Prime Minister Modi lives up to his words and let these agencies function without any fear or influence. Because the nation definitely wants to know!