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NDTV cries witch-hunt as CBI raids founder Prannoy Roy’s home
MUMBAI: In a major crackdown on a leading media outfit, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has conducted raids at the residence of NDTV co-founder and executive co-chairperson Prannoy Roy.
The CBI has registered a case against Roy, his wife Radhika and a company they own, RRPR Holdings, for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 48 crore to ICICI Bank.
RRPR (Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy), the promoter entity of NDTV, has been accused of causing loss to ICICI Bank. The investigation agency has conducted raids at four locations including Dehradun and Roy’s residence in New Delhi.
Condemning the raid in a strongly worded statement, the TV news broadcaster called the raids a witch-hunt and an attack on free speech.
“This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations,” the statement read.
“NDTV and its promoters will fight tirelessly against this witch-hunt by multiple agencies. We will not succumb to these attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India.
“We have one message to those who are trying to destroy the institutions of India and everything it stands for: We will fight for our country and overcome these forces.”
Social media was abuzz with tweets decrying the raids. Here is how some of the journalists have reacted to the government action:
“Today’s CBI raid on @PrannoyRoyNDTV is a defining moment: the last time this sort of thing happened was during the Emergency” – Praveen Swami of ‘The Indian Express’
“A message to those in the media who are still independent and do their job by fearlessly asking questions. We won’t be intimidated” – Nidhi Razdan of NDTV 24×7
“CBI raid on @PrannoyRoyNDTV is watershed for free media in India. Media house’s reactions will go down in history, just as in the Emergency.
‘Prannoy Roy of NDTV being raided by IT Dept. India officially a Goonda Raj, anyone critical of govt will be crushed by official machinery” – Ajai Shukla of ‘Business Standard’
“Message is clear: any independent voices in media will be bullied and shut down. Black day” – Sreenivsan Jain, managing editor, NDTV.
On the other side of the spectrum were those who supported the raids. For example, the BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy said, “Fear of law is necessary and it should be applied no matter who you are.”
Denying NDTV’s ‘witch-hunting’ charge, Minister of Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu said that ‘law is taking its own course’. “This government doesn’t believe in interfering. They (CBI) must have some information, that’s why they might have taken steps,” Naidu told ANI.