Millennium Post

CBI denies witch-hunt in NDTV raid

The CBI on Tuesday said the raids on the premises of NDTV network co-founder Prannoy Roy were done following court orders and that it "respects the freedom of press".

"It is clarified that searches have been carried out at the premises of the (NDTV) promoters and their offices based on search warrants issued by the competent court," the Central Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

The agency said it did not conduct searches at the registered office of NDTV, media studio, news room or premises connected with the media group.

"The CBI fully respects the freedom of press and is committed to the free functioning of news operations."

The remarks came a day after the CBI raided NDTV network's premises and Roy's houses for allegedly causing Rs 48 crore loss to ICICI Bank.

The agency said it had registered the case based on the complaint of a share holder of ICICI Bank and NDTV after carrying out "due diligence".

The CBI termed NDTV's statement that the agency's move was "a blatant political attack on the freedom of the press" as denigrating. It said the news network was "wrongly accusing the agency of acting under pressure" and termed NDTV's remarks uncalled for and an attempt to malign the image of the CBI.

"The investigation is being conducted as per the due process of law and under the jurisdiction of the court of law," it said.

It dismissed NDTV's claim it had never defaulted on any loan, and said the allegations under investigation were not regarding the default in loan repayment.

It "relates to the wrongful gain of Rs 48 crore to the promoters - Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, RRPR Holdings and a corresponding wrongful loss to the ICICI Bank arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy".

It questioned NDTV's claim that CBI had no jurisdiction over a case relating to a private bank.

It referred to a Supreme Court ruling that said the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 are applicable to the officials of private banks.

"Therefore, the CBI has jurisdiction to take up investigation of the cases of private banks."
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