SpiceJet co-founder Ajay Singh is set to take control of NDTV, according to Indian Express report. This comes even as the channel’s founders Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and promoter firm RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd have been facing a CBI probe for allegedly concealing a share transaction, the report says. It has been learnt that Singh has picked up majority holding in the news channel and will take control of NDTV along with editorial rights. Notably, Singh was part of the BJP’s 2014 poll campaign, IE reported.
According to the report, Ajay Singh will also pick up NDTV’s debt of over Rs 400 crore and the total deal is valued at around Rs 600 crore. A part of the cash (up to Rs 100 crore) will also go to the Roys. A SpiceJet official, however, told IE “it’s absolutely false and baseless”.
On June 5, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) raided various premises of Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy, the promoters of NDTV Group. The raids had its roots in a series of loans that the Roys took starting in 2008 because they wanted to buy back a large chunk of NDTV’s shares from the market.
The Gurgaon-company VCPL, which is now under the SEBI scrutiny for control of NDTV, had given the media firm an interest-free loan worth Rs 350 crore to the Roys and RRPR Holdings — a holding company of NDTV, as was reported by journalist Sucheta Dalal’s Moneylife. The Roys reportedly used this money to repay a loan from ICICI Bank in full. In exchange, the Roys were to issue convertible warrants to VCPL which had the option to convert those debentures into the equity shares amounting to 99.99% equity share capital of RRPR Holdings, which in turn owns 29.18% stake in NDTV Ltd.