Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday filed a complaint against New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) seeking probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a money laundering probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In a letter to Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, Swamy demanded that the CBI and ED should question NDTV Network PLC’s (NNPLC) key shareholders including Prannoy Roy and wife Radhika Roy, Barkha Dutt, Vikram Chandra and Sonia Singh. The Senior BJP leader alleged that certain people close to the former Finance Minister P Chidambaram are trying to save the main persons of NDTV and trying to provide an escape route to the TV channel. He further added that the case is in the arbitration stage and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under Raghuram Rajan had tried to save NDTV through paying a meager fine.
In his three page letter to Prime Minister and marked to the CBI and ED Chiefs, Swamy said CBI should register a case against NDTV under Prevention of Corruption Act related to Aircel-Maxis case. ED has already found that 50 million dollars has flown to NDTV from Maxis subsidiary Astro All Asia Networks. This company is already charge sheeted by ED and CBI for money trail with SUN TV. Swamy said the CBI has totally ignored the findings of ED and should probe the matter as the money flow is during the Aircel-Maxis scam period. The letter of Swamy is published at the end of the report.
Swamy also demanded that the ED should charge Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for the swindling of Rs.2030 crores ($304 million) and Rs.640 crores ($96 million). He said that FEMA charges are only meant for fines and the real persons behind the money laundering through the NDTV’s UK registered company NDTV Networks PLC (NNPLC). BJP leader said as Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, Barkha Dutt and Vikram Chandra were major shareholders in the UK based company, they should be charged under PMLA, which envisages three to seven year punishment with fine. He also said ED should also register case under PMLA for Income Tax findings on illicit money of Rs.640 crores ($96 million) through Bermuda in March 2008. He urged that CBI and ED should be permitted to call all the high profile operators of NDTV who have been taking the cover behind journalists with political patronage, to suppress criminal investigation.
Swamy’s move against NDTV could end up being a nightmare for the channel and its main staffers. PGurus has reliably learnt that Swamy may take the case to the courts, if the government does not act on his petition. Below is a copy of the letter to the PM.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.69 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
3. Text in italics are direct quotes from the letter.