BSE seeks clarification from NDTV on Rs. 350 crore ICICI loan

Woes don’t seem to be ending for the news channel NDTV anytime soon. On 22nd September, business daily Business Standard reported that for the Rs. 350 crore ICICI loan to news channel NDTV promoters allowed prepayment without penalty alleging that the reset of rate of interest to less than 10% from 19% which caused a loss of Rs. 48 crore to ICICI Bank. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has asked for clarification regarding the same from NDTV.

Earlier in June, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had raided residence of NDTV promoters Mr and Mrs Prannoy Roy in alleged fraud case. As per details of the case, in December 2007, Roys had bought 7.73 per cent of NDTV shares from General Atlantic. Minority shareholders of NDTV were made an open offer to sell shares. To fund the purchase of shares that the minority shareholders wanted to sell, Roys created a company called RRPR Holdings Private Limited. RRPR borrowed Rs 501 crore from India Bulls Ltd.

To repay part of the India Bulls loan, RRPR borrowed Rs 375 crore from ICICI Bank in October 2008. In August 2009, RRPR found another lender called Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL) to repay the ICICI loan. VCPL agreed to pay Rs 350 crore to RRPR in July, 2009.

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RRPR’s balance sheets – filed before the Registrar of Companies in March, 2009 – however, showed that it had a loan of Rs 349,26,14,485 from ICICI Bank and an interest of Rs 17,21,80,697 on that loan. Between 31 March and 7 August, 2009 — when RRPR repaid ICICI after receiving the money from VCPL — an additional interest was accumulated and the bank therefore suffered a loss to the tune of Rs 48 crore.

Earlier today, amidst the speculations of NDTV entering agreement of sale for their stake in the Company, BSE had sought clarification, to which NDTV had clarified they have not entered into any such agreement.

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