NDTV in the dock : SEBI imposes fine on the channel and its executives for disclosure lapses

Market regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) has imposed a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh on NDTV and Rs. 3 lakh each on four individuals, including promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy for certain disclosure lapses. This order is preceded by a probe by SEBI into the alleged delay in disclosure of income tax demand of about Rs. 450 crore, which has subsequently been challenged by NDTV, regarding the sale of some shares by a top company executive over four years ago.

In the order dated 16th March, the SEBI imposed a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh on NDTV and Rs. 3 lakh each on Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, Vikramaditya Chandra (Group CEO back in 2014) and Anoop Singh Juneja (Compliance Officer). The SEBI said there were allegations against K V L Narayan Rao, NDTV’s Executive Chairman, but proceedings against him were dropped after his death last year. The investigation by SEBI was conducted based on a complaint from Quantum Securities, a shareholder with NDTV, that the company did not disclose the order of the income tax department, within two days of receipt of information, to the stock exchanges.

Quantum Securities, had been associated with NDTV since 2006, but had a fallout with it within two years, following which the owners, Sanjay Dutt and his partner Sanjay Jain, have filed a series of complaint against NDTV’s promoters with the income tax department, SEBI, Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Enforcement Directorate alleging fraud, money laundering and FEMA violations.

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In the said order, the SEBI has said the persons in charge of a company or principal officer are liable for the compliance of clause 36 of the listing agreement, which makes it mandatory for a listed company to disclose any information which is share-price sensitive. The order said that the above four persons have violated the listing agreement and therefore, liable to pay penalty.

Earlier, NDTV has already been penalised Rs. 2 crores through a different proceeding with respect to non-disclosure of the said income tax demand of Rs. 450 crore.

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