I have been reiterating this again and again but it bears mention one more time –
The First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is on the Promoters of NDTV, namely Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy. It has nothing to do with the entity NDTV. This has been made clear by PGurus, by S Gurumurthy in his article in the New Indian Express and the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu. Do not hide behind the fig leaf of Freedom Of Speech and shoot from NDTV‘s site.
You are thinking that with bluster and false bravado, you can somehow ride roughshod over this FIR, which will perhaps pave way for other actions by other departments. I and PGurus have been objective, factual and have questioned the Government on many issues. But in this case, I must say that the CBI acted in a professional, thorough, deliberate and step-by-step manner. Before I rebut your 5 points, here are a few questions:
Didn’t KVL Narayan Rao (NDTV Group CEO) visit the CBI in March 2017 after summons were issued?
Can you deny the fact that documents were sought from NDTV and ICICI Bank weeks before the FIR?
Didn’t VPCL (referred in Para 11, Page 6 of the FIR), officials visit the CBI office and provide them with documents and information, over the weeks preceding the FIR?
Do you think CBI did not verify the facts from the Income Tax Department (IT) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) prior to filing an FIR?
Maybe you have forgotten or are choosing to ignore, CBI surely must have (and I believe did get) information and documents from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting prior to the FIR?
Were you not aware that since May 2016, Delhi Police Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) was investigating this entire case? In fact the CBI was setup in 1946 via The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. Surely you must know this?
Now let us take up your 5-points.
- To start with, it was 6 crores and not Rs. 48 crores that was restructured.
Read Para 12 on Page 8 of the FIR. In your own filings (that of RRPL Ltd.) on March 31, 2009, you acknowledged that there was an interest of approximately ₹17crores on a principal of ₹349crores for a total outstanding amount of ₹366 crores that was due to ICICI. These are numbers taken from your Balance Sheet, that you submitted to the government agencies under your signature.
- The CBI manual lays down 15 steps that it is required to undertake before any raid. Apparently under political pressure to raid immediately, in haste, the CBI skipped virtually all of these mandated steps.
This is laughable. You are quoting the wrong page from the CBI Manual. You have conveniently referred to cases where a Bank makes a complaint. I am reproducing the same picture below for reference:
Read the title of this document. It says Checklist to ensure filing of Complete Complaints by Banks in Fraud Cases. This does not apply to NDTV. I could add here that perhaps you think you are a Bank but sarcasm is lost on you.
- The FIR states that the founders owed ICICI Bank 3,666 crores (three thousand six hundred and sixty-six crores). The actual loan was Rs. 350 crores (three hundred and fifty crores).
This is a typo in the text (there was an extra 6) but the calculations in the table just below in the FIR are correct. If you add up the first two entries for 2009, it comes to ₹366,47,95,182 which is ₹366 crores.
- In 2008, K V Kamath oversaw the sanctioning of the loan. Mr. Kamath is one of the greatest and most respected executives of India.
You are dragging Mr. Kamath into this and now allow me to jog your memory. If you go back to October 13, 2008 you interviewed Mr. Kamath personally. ICICI was under some pressure, having seen a run on its stock price (they even filed an FIR) and this exclusive interview helped shore up its stock price, assure the depositors and other counter parties. Guess when ICICI sanctioned the ₹350 crore loan? October 14, 2008! I will leave it to the reader to draw his/ her own conclusions on whether this was a quid-pro-quo deal or not!
- ICICI Bank followed RBI guidelines in giving the loan…
Again this is a general observation and is not specific to your loan. According to the FIR filed by CBI, the violations of ICICI loan to RRPL are listed in detail in Para 13 of Page 8 of the FIR. Of course not to mention the interview dates and loan sanctioning within 24 hours! Will RBI have to say something about this? May not be illegal but remember Dr. Roy, you are a journalist who owns and runs the most “Trusted” news channel!
You can do better than this, Dr. Roy!
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