NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation conducted searches at five offices and residences of NDTV co-founder Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy on Monday. The raids, conducted across Delhi, Dehradun and Mussoorie, were based on allegations that Prannoy Roy had caused a wrongful loss of Rs 48 crore to ICICI Bank.
The CBI has filed a case of cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and a private company called RRPR Holding. Unnamed officials of ICICI Bank have also been accused in the case. According to sources, premises searched include offices and residences of Roy in Delhi, a farmhouse in Dehradun and another house in Mussoorie.
Based on a complaint filed on April 28 by Sanjay Dutt, director of Delhi-based Quantum Securities Ltd, the agency registered an FIR on June 2, after having undertaken a due diligence of the allegations and discreet enquiries, officials said. On June 3, the CBI got permission from designated court to conduct searches at the premises of the accused persons. The complainant is a shareholder in both NDTV and ICICI Bank.
The agency claimed to have recovered documents relating to the case and said they were being scrutinised for further action. “All investigative processes, like summoning of the accused for questioning, will be undertaken after the seized documents are scrutinised,” an official said.
In a statement, NDTV claimed the move was a ‘witch hunt’ and “a blatant political attack on the freedom of the press.”
According to the complaint, Prannoy Roy and Radhika hold 61 per cent shares of RRPR. In June 2008, RRPR took a loan of `500 crore from India Bulls Financial Services to buy 20 shares of NDTV from the public. In October 2008, the promoters of NDTV took a loan of `375 crore from the ICICI Bank, against a collateral of entire shareholding of the promoters in NDTV, for repayment of India Bulls debt.
“However, neither the bank nor the promoters of M/s NDTV Ltd made disclosures of creation of such collateral in favour of the bank. This disclosure/permission under various statutes is mandatory to SEBI, Stock Exchanges and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,” the complaint says, adding that ICICI Bank was an active participant in violating norms.
What are the charges?
The CBI has registered a case under Section 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and criminal misconduct under corruption act.