Congress accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government of using the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to control the media on Tuesday. CBI searched offices and residences of NDTV co-founder Prannoy Roy over allegations of triggering loss to a private bank.
“I think this CBI move is an overdrive by the government in its excitement to control the media. I think this will have very serious repercussions in the media world,” Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said. The move showed “bad timing” and “lack of vision” on part of the government, he said adding that the CBI’s intervention was needless as the issue could have resolved by bank officials.
“The bank officials said that payments have been coming regularly and there have been no indications of any attempt to flee the country. We have had situations where people have flown out of this country with huge payments due,” Vadakkan added.
The CBI filed a case against Roy, his wife Radhika Roy, a private company and others for triggering an alleged loss of Rs 48 crore to a ICICI bank. ICICI Bank gave NDTV a loan of Rs 366 crore on personal guarantees of the Roys in 2008. He pledged the company’s shares that were valued over the prevailing price at the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Searches are being conducted today at four places including Delhi and Dehradun, said CBI. In the meantime, NDTV vowed to fight against the ‘witch-hunt by multiple agencies’.