The Congress on Tuesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government of using the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to control the media after the agency searched offices and residences of NDTV co-founder Prannoy Roy over allegations of causing loss to a private bank. “I think this CBI move is an overdrive by the government in its excitement to control the media. I think this will have very serious repercussions in the media world,” Congress leader Tom Vadakkan told ANI. He further said that the move displayed “bad timing” and “lack of vision” on part of the government, adding that the CBI’s intervention was unnecessary as the issue could have sorted out by bank officials.
“The bank officials said that payments have been coming regularly and there have been no indications of any attempt to flee the country. We have had situations where people have flown out of this country with huge payments due,” Vadakkan added. The CBI registered a case against Roy, his wife Radhika Roy, a private company and others for causing an alleged loss of Rs. 48 crore to a ICCI bank.
In 2008, the ICICI Bank gave NDTV a loan of Rs. 366 crore on personal guarantees of the Roys who pledged the company’s shares that were valued more than the prevailing price at the Bombay Stock Exchange. According to CBI sources, a case was registered for causing an alleged loss of Rs. 48 crore to the ICICI bank. The CBI said that searches are being conducted today at four places including Delhi and Dehradun. The NDTV has, meanwhile, vowed to fight against the ‘witch-hunt by multiple agencies’.