Bloodbath at NDTV: 3 more top officials including CTO, ex-CEO quit after Adani takeover

NDTV has witnessed several top-level resignation since Adani Group took over the media company last month.

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By: TNI Team | New Delhi
Updated: 14 January, 2023 11:12 am IST
Suparna Singh with Kawaljit Singh Bedi (in turban), Arjit Chatterjee and NDTV reporter Sharad Sharma (right).

Three top officials of the New Delhi Television Group (NDTV), including its president Suparna Singh, have resigned from the media house more than a month after the company was taken over by billionaire Gautam Adani.

Apart from Suparna, NDTV Group’s chief strategy officer Arijit Chatterjee and chief technology and product officer Kawaljit Singh Bedi have also stepped down, the company informed the stock exchanges in a filing on Friday.

“The company is in process of putting up a new leadership team which will set a fresh strategic direction and goals for the company,” NDTV’s company secretary and compliance officer Parinita Bhutani Duggal told the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The media outfit has been struggling to find its feet even after reinventing its content on digital and bouquet of TV channels, with some of its anchors like Sanket Upadhyay, Umashankar Singh, Nidhi Kulsrestha often being dubbed as pro-Congress by social media trolls.

The media outfit and its earlier avatar of production house were often pilloried for its open bias for the Congress for decades. Advertisement support from Congress-ruled Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan governments has only increased since the Grand Old Party arrived in these states.

NDTV’s former promoters Prannoy and Radhika Roy were at the helm of TV industry when Congress-led UPA ruled India in alliance with the Left Parties. Radhika’s sister Brinda Karat is wife to Prakash Karat, who served as the former CPM Politburo General Secretary during the 10-year central government led by the Left in Delhi and states like Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura for more than 30 long years.

NDTV’s editorial director Sonia Singh is the wife of former Union minister RPN Singh, who had in 2022, joined BJP after losing Lok Sabha polls in 2019 on a Congress ticket.

For the last decade or so, the Roys had formed a clique in the media industry, with participation from former News18 anchor Sagarika Ghose, daughter of ex-Doordarshan head Bhaskar Ghose, senior journalist Shekhar Gupta and former HT editorial director Vir Sanghvi. Sanghvi was serving in this capacity at the Hindustan Times when its proprietor Shobhna Bhartia was sent as a Congress MP from Rajya Sabha.

NDTV’s other prominent face Nidhi Razdan, a Kashmiri Pandit, who was caught in a controversy over her claims of induction as a professor at Harvard University that later turned out to be fake, had recently made a comeback to the media outfit. It’s still not clear if she would stay or settle in Kashmir where she has been spotted publically with a leading politician.

NDTV Group has witnessed several top-level desertions following Adani Group’s tumultuous takeover.

ALSO READ: Whatever it takes to control NDTV

In December last year, NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy sold their stakes in the organisation to Adani Group’s media wing AMG Media Network.

“The AMG Media Network, after the recent Open Offer, is now the single-largest shareholder in NDTV. Consequently, with the mutual agreement, we have decided to divest most of our shares in NDTV to the AMG Media Network. We are hopeful that he will preserve these values and expand upon them with all the responsibility required of a leader of an organisation of this nature,” they had said in a joint statement.

In November, they quit as directors of NDTV promoter company RRPR Holding Private Limited.

Senior journalist Ravish Kumar had also stepped down from the post of senior executive director of the group’s Hindi channel NDTV India. In an interview later, he said Adani Group bought NDTV to silence him.

On August 23, Adani Group acquired 29.18 per cent stake in NDTV Ltd and said it would launch an open offer as required by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to buy another 26 per cent in the company.

On November 22, the Adani Group launched its open offer to acquire an additional 26 per cent stake in NDTV.

Earlier, the Roys have had brushes with investigating agencies like the Income Tax, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate.

In 2019, the CBI 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.

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