NDTV’s tax evasion frauds and money laundering amounting to Rs.903 crores were laid bare by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). The Order pronounced by ITAT on July 14 has completely destroyed NDTV’s dubious attempts at delaying the payment of Income Tax of Rs.540 crores and further exposed its other money laundering through Bermuda and Netherlands. ITAT has rejected NDTV’s appeal, and this landmark order confirmed the fraudulent practices of this TV channel.
The question now that is on everyone’s lips is how this debt-ridden media company is going to pay the huge tax fine to the public exchequer!
NDTV and its head honcho Prannoy Roy tried to put the blame on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that Freedom of Press is in danger when caught red-handed for frauds and illegal activities. NDTV’s tax evasion was first caught by the honest officers of Income Tax Department in March 2013 by slapping a fine of Rs.540 crores. NDTV appealed this ruling in April 2013 and dashed to ITAT by paying a Rs.5 crore fine against the tax demand of Rs.540 crore and stayed the matter.
NDTV was caught for using dubious means to route money of around $150 million from US giant GE’s subsidiary company through Bermuda via Netherlands in 2008. But NDTV was protected by Congress leadership including Sonia Gandhi and the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
NDTV lost the appeal in ITAT in December 2013 but used questionable tactics and filed a second appeal in ITAT. This entertaining of a second appeal was challenged by noted financial analyst and editor Gurumurthy, minority shareholder Sanjay Dutt and whistleblower Tax official S K Srivastava. At one point due to some murky games, the petitions of these people were objected to by the ITAT.
Recently ITAT got a slap from the Delhi High Court for its doubtful actions. The July 14 Order, now compels NDTV to pay the fine of Rs.903 crores, including a tax evasion of Rs.540 crores. The question now that is on everyone’s lips is how this debt-ridden media company is going to pay the huge tax fine to the public exchequer!
Apart from this, the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) huge fine for committing a FEMA violation of Rs.2030 crores is staring at NDTV. Add to these the CBI and ED cases against Prannoy Roy and wife Radhika Roy for the ICICI Bank fraud and SEBI cases for manipulating the Stock Exchanges by trading their shares at just Rs.4 when the market price was Rs.140! The cup of woes runneth over.
Will Prannoy Roy do a Vijay Mallya by fleeing the country? Where does this leave the eminenterati, the likes of Shourie, Nariman et. al. who stood by their “friend”?