News channel NDTV has highlighted what it says is a ‘outrageous’ error by the federal investigating agency, the CBI, during its sudden raids at the houses of Radhika and Prannoy Roy earlier this month.
In its statement posted on the NDTV website on Tuesday, the channel listed out five points to illustrate that the Centre’s case against it was ‘fake.’
Headlined ‘5 Points Exposing Government’s Fake Case, Raids On NDTV And Its Journalist-Founders,’ the channel said that the raids were for ‘a case that stands no scrutiny and which NDTV will challenge in court.’
It said that under pressure from its ‘political masters,’ the CBI got basic facts wrong in its FIR.
The statement said, “To start with, it was Rs. 6 crores and not Rs. 48 crores that was restructured. In any objective and non-political circumstances, the CBI could and would easily have verified the basis of its fake case by simply checking documents.”
It continued, “The CBI manual lays down 15 steps that it is required to undertake before any raid. Apparently under political pressure to raid immediately, in haste, the CBI skipped virtually all of these mandated steps. Once again revealing how acting in haste under political pressure has its terrible downside for the CBI, the agency makes another outrageous “error” – or did its political masters instruct or encourage deliberate deceit?
“The FIR states that the founders owed ICICI Bank Rs. 3,666 crores (three thousand six hundred and sixty-six crores). The actual loan was Rs. 350 crores (three hundred and fifty crores).”
The NDTV statement has repeatedly referred to the central government as the CBI’s political masters.
The CBI’s extraordinary raids on the houses of the NDTV promoter and veteran journalist Roy had come just days after the channel’s anchor, Nidhi Razdan, had on-air altercation with a BJP spokesperson, Sambit Patra.
Razdan had told Patra to leave the show if he did not apologise after he accused the NDTV of spreading misinformation with an agenda.
The development had prompted journalists in Delhi to gather at the Press Club to protest against the government.
Among those who had condemned the Modi government for the CBI raids were eminent jurist, Fali S Nariman and former cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Arun Shourie.
The New Yor Times in its editorial too had slammed the government move likening the CBI raids on the offices of Roy to ‘fresh blow’ on press freedom in India.
In its editorial, the NYT wrote, “Press freedom in India suffered a fresh blow on Monday when the country’s main investigative agency raided homes and offices connected to the founders of NDTV, India’s oldest television news station. The raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India’s news media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”