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CBI searched Roys’ premises, not NDTV’s: Venkaiah

Priya sundarajan | | Updated on: Jun 07, 2017
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Union I&B Minister says channel’s promoters need to face scrutiny

Dismissing allegations that CBI’s recent searches on properties belonging to Prannoy and Radhika Roy were an infringement on press freedom, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the central probe agency’s action was not on NDTV, but the promoters of the media house.

Naidu said the Roys have to face scrutiny and “answer the people, instead of blocking it and then making allegations”.

“There is no raid on NDTV. The CBI has not entered the premises of the newsroom or TV studio or any other related offices of the media channel. The management and promoters have to stand scrutiny and answer to the people instead of blocking it and then making allegations,” the Minister said, on the sidelines of a function here.

The CBI’s searches, carried out on Monday, over allegations of bank fraud, had drawn criticism from several political parties as well journalist groups such as the Editors’ Guild of India, Press Club of India and All India Newspaper Editors’ Conference.

Rubbishing claims of vendetta against the channel, Naidu said the promoters of NDTV, Prannoy and Radhika Roy, should submit to due process of the law as there were questions on their operations that needed disclosures.

“Those disclosures will be enquired into,” the Minister said, indicating that the troubles for the channel are unlikely to end soon.

‘Not above law’

Naidu said the media house cannot presume itself to be above the law. “This is especially true when ownership of most media today is defined by a vertiginous web of cross-holding involving corporate and entities for whom media is not a primary business,” he said.

CBI had, in a statement, cited a Supreme Court order of 2016 to assert that the agency has jurisdiction to take up investigation of cases of corruption concerning private banks as well.

Lashing out at the Congress for alleging that the government was misusing CBI, Naidu said, “I am surprised that the Congress party is talking about the misuse of CBI. My PM was grilled for eight hours when he was Gujarat CM during UPA regime and our party president was foisted with a false case and spent time in jail. Now these people are talking about misusing CBI.”

The minister was referring to Modi being grilled in 2010 by a Supreme Court-appointed probe panel over his alleged complicity in the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, and Shah’s stint in jail in the same year in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Published on January 12, 2018

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