Not a good day for NDTV: A show cause notice from ED over irregularities worth ₹4,369 crore and a ₹10,000 crore defamation suit

Controversial media house NDTV limited has been issued a show cause notice by Enforcement Directorate (ED) over violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) rules. The case relates to ₹1,637 crore that the media company had received as FDI, and overseas investment of ₹2,732 crore that the company had made.

Other than NDTV Limited, the notice has also been issued to Prannoy Roy, Mrs. Radhika Roy, Vikram Chandra and other associated with the company for their involvement in violation of rules. The companies alleged to have violated the FEMA rules include Ms NDTV Lifestyle Holdings Ltd (now Ms Lifestyle and Media Holdings Ltd), Ms South Asia Creative Assets Ltd, Ms Astro Overseas Ltd and Ms NDTV Imagine Ltd (now Ms Turner General Entertainment Networks India Pvt Ltd).

A statement issued by ED says that the media group had received an FDI worth ₹725 crore without obtaining approval from cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA). According to rules, CCEA is mandatory for FDI above ₹600 crore, but while applying for FIPB approval the company had projected the value of FDI at ₹585 crore, eliminating the need for CCEA clearance. The statement says that “FDI was projected as below ₹600 crore as part of a larger conspiracy.”

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The agency said that “further investigation on this aspect is continuing.”

 

According to ED, an FDI of ₹319 crore received by NDTV Ltd violated the press note 1 of 2005 of DIPP, while a downstream investment of ₹138 crore was made without FIPB approval.

Talking about the FEMA violation, the statement says that “overseas investment made by the NDTV and offences of Rs 582 crore relate to contravention of substantive provisions of FEMA and the remaining contraventions of Rs 2,414 crore relate to delays in filing reports and other requisite information before RBI.”

NDTV has rejected the charges of violation of FEMA norms. In a statement posted on its website it alleged that the channel is being targeted for its fair and independent journalism.

The companies have also been charged with delays in filing and reporting information with RBI.

 

The media house was also hit with a defamation suit for ₹10,000 crores. Anil Ambani led Reliance group has filed the case in Ahmedabad court over the channel’s coverage of the Rafale deal. This was informed by CEO of NDTV group Suparna Singh on Twitter.

The lawsuit is filed against NDTV’s weekly show, Truth vs Hype, which aired on September 29. The hearing has been listed for 26th October and NDTV say they will contest the case. The channel has outright rejected any charges of defamation and said that they will present material in court to support its case.

This is the latest in the series of several defamation suits that Reliance Group has filed against several politicians and media houses over the allegations made over the Rafale deal.

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