Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy on Tuesday resigned from New Delhi Television Ltd. (NDTV) as directors of the board of promoter entity RRPR Holding. The Board of Directors meeting held on November 22, 2022 approved their resignation with immediate effect, NDTV said in an announcement to the stock exchanges.
Post its acquisition, Adani Group is also conducting an open offer running between November 22 and December 5 for a 26 per cent stake in NDTV. NDTV has been informed by the Promoter Group vehicle RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH) that the Board of Directors at the meeting held today i.e. November 29, 2022, have approved.
The RRPR Holding board has also approved the appointment of Adani group representatives Sudipta Bhattacharya, Sanjay Pugalia, and Senthil Sinniah Chengalvarayan as directors with immediate effect. Adani Group-controlled Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt. (VPCL) has gained control of NDTV’s promoter entity.
The Roys, however, still hold a 32.26 per cent stake in NDTV as promoters and have not resigned from the board of the news channel. Prannoy Roy is the Chairperson of NDTV and Radhika Roy is an Executive Director.
More than a decade ago, Roys had taken an interest-free loan of over Rs 400 crore from a company that Adani group acquired in August. In exchange, they issued warrants that allowed the company to acquire a 29.18 per cent stake in the news group.
RRPR, or Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy Holdings Private Limited is the promoter of NDTV. It held 29.18 per cent stake in the news channel. The conversion of warrants into equity because of non-payment of the loan, gave the Adani group entity almost all shares of RRPR Holdings.
Roy Family’s Corrupt practices pave the way of NDTV’s downfall
Earlier, the Roys have had brushes with the investigating agencies like the Income Tax, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate. In 2019, the CBI had registered another case against NDTV Ltd, its promoters Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, former CEO Vikramaditya Chandra, and a few income tax officials on charges of money laundering under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The CBI in its FIR has alleged that between 2004 and 2010, NDTV “floated” around 32 subsidiary firms in tax haven such as Holland, UK, Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius. These firms, according to the CBI, had “no business transaction and they were meant only for financial transactions to bring funds from abroad”.
The CBI has alleged that these are “sham transactions” as the funds were “invested by unknown public servants through NDTV Ltd and later laundered back to lndia through multiple layers of complex transactions and shell companies.”
The CBI said that NDTV International Holding BV was incorporated only to raise $150 million from a subsidiary of General Electric USA. The CBI said that this investment was routed to NDTV’s subsidiaries in India through firms in Mauritius and UK. The aforementioned investment of $100 million against step-up convertible bonds were repaid to the respective investors by the NDTV in ratio by making a payment of $72.40 million, in November, 2008.
Similarly, the investment of $150 million by NBCU who had acquired 26% share holding in NNPLC has been settled by buying back the share of NDTV Network International Holding BV, Netherlands from NBCU after making the payment of $12,472,750 to Universal Studio BV on October 26, 2009, “said the CBI FIR.
Earlier in 2017, the CBI had registered a case against the Roys, a private company and others for causing alleged losses to a private bank. The said case was related to a bank loan default of Rs 48 crore taken from ICICI Bank in 2008.
According to the FIR, the loan defaulted by NDTV’s Prannoy Roy was for a company named RRPR Holdings Private Limited. Following this, the ED also filed a case against the Roys in the matter. Even the IT department had launched a probe earlier against the NDTV for concealing income of more than Rs 117 crore each over two assessment years.
NDTV, a habitual Liar and Deceiver
Doordarshan employee Ashok Srivastava once said that NDTV had stolen Doordarshan tapes and equipment to make a profit and to establish itself. He said that while NDTV used footage from tapes stolen from the public broadcaster, it had sold equipment stolen from Doordarshan. During that time, Bhaskar Ghosh had actively helped NDTV in doing so.
Ashok Shrivastava said, “NDTV channel is created and established by stealing Doordarshan tapes, stealing Doordarshan footage, selling that footage, and by selling the equipment that belonged to Doordarshan. Bhaskar Ghosh was the Director General of Doordarshan at that time and he is the father of Sagarika Ghosh. At that time, the government gave public money to uplift this channel.”
It is worth noting that NDTV is known for its anti-BJP and anti-Hindu agenda. NDTV is often accused of partial reporting siding with anti-BJP parties, in the name of fair journalism.