Prannoy, Radhika Roy step down as NDTV Directors

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By: Anand Singh
Updated: 30 November, 2022 12:30 am IST

Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy on Tuesday resigned from New Delhi Television Ltd. (NDTV) as directors of the board of promoter entity RRPR Holding. The Board of Directors meeting held on November 22, 2022 approved their resignation with immediate effect, NDTV said in an announcement to the stock exchanges.

The RRPR Holding board has also approved the appointment of Adani group representatives Sudipta Bhattacharya, Sanjay Pugalia, and Senthil Sinniah Chengalvarayan as directors with immediate effect.

Adani Group-controlled Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt. (VPCL) has gained control of NDTV’s promoter entity.

The development comes after on August 23, Gautam Adani-led Adani Group, acquired 29.18 per cent stake in television channel 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. The offer will remain open until December 5, 2022.

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

In 2019, the CBI had 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 .

The CBI in its FIR has alleged that between 2004 and 2010, NDTV “floated” around 32 subsidiary firms in tax haven such as Holland, UK, Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius. These firms, according to the CBI, had “no business transaction and they were meant only for financial transactions to bring funds from abroad”.

The CBI has alleged that these are “sham transactions” as the funds were “invested by unknown public servants through NDTV Ltd and later laundered back to lndia through multiple layers of complex transactions and shell companies.”

The CBI said that NDTV International Holding BV was incorporated only to raise $150 million from a subsidiary of General Electric USA. The CBI said that this investment was routed to NDTV’s subsidiaries in India through firms in Mauritius and UK.

The aforementioned investment of $100 million against step-up convertible bonds were repaid to the respective investors by the NDTV in ratio by making a payment of $72.40 million, in November, 2008.

Similarly, the investment of $150 million by NBCU who had acquired 26% share holding in NNPLC has been settled by buying back the share of NDTV Network International Holding BV, Netherlands from NBCU after making the payment of $12,472,750 to Universal Studio BV on October 26, 2009, “said the CBI FIR.

Earlier in 2017, the CBI had registered a case against the Roys, a private company and others for causing alleged losses to a private bank.

The said case was related to a bank loan default of Rs 48 crore taken from ICICI Bank in 2008. According to the FIR, the loan defaulted by NDTV’s Prannoy Roy was for a company named RRPR Holdings Private Limited. Following this, the ED also filed a case against the Roys in the matter.

Even the IT department had launched a probe earlier against the NDTV for concealing income of more than Rs 117 crore each over two assessment years.

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