The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday searched the offices and homes of NDTV news channel co-founder and promoter Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika in connection with an alleged bank fraud.
The agency has registered a case against Roy, his wife Radhika and RRPR Holdings for allegedly causing losses of Rs 48 crore to ICICI Bank, CBI sources said.
They said the agency was conducting searches at four places in the national capital and Dehradun.
NDTV, in a statement, termed the move by CBI as a “witch hunt” based on “same old” false accusations.
“This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations,” NDTV said in a statement.
It said NDTV and its promoters would 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,” it said.
On Twitter, NDTV Managing Editor Sreenivsan Jain said: “Message is clear: any independent voices in media will be bullied and shut down. Black day.”
NDTV’s Editorial Director Sonia Singh tweeted: “Stand fully with Prannoy & Radhika Roy,the most honest,decent & courageous people I know. We will not be cowed down by false charges.”
Executive Editor Nidhi Razdan said: “A message to those in the media who are still independent and do their job by fearlessly asking questions. We won’t be intimidated.”
The Enforcement Directorate and income tax (I-T) authorities were investigating NDTV since 2014.
"Law is taking its own course and there is no witch hunt against anyone at all as this government does not believe in interfering," Naidu told reporters here.
"They (CBI) must have got some information and that's why they might have taken these steps," the Information and Broadcasting Minister said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader also said the government won't remain silent if anyone does wrong.
"If somebody does something wrong simply because they belong to media, you cannot expect the government to keep quiet," Naidu said.
Recently, the Delhi high court allowed I-T department to proceed against NDTV in a separate case for receiving funds from a foreign funding institution and settling the account 80 per cent less than the original amount.