NDTV has denied media reports stating that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal had indicted its founder, Prannoy Roy and the channel for tax evasion and money laundering.
In a detailed rebuttal published on the channel’s website, the NDTV said called the media reporting agenda-driven.
It said, “The ITAT order has refused to accept the allegation of IT department that there was any money-laundering by NDTV or Dr Roy (in para 103 of the ITAT judgement). Therefore, allegations that money-laundering has been accepted by ITAT are false and appear to be agenda-driven.
“This is a complete u-turn and a major setback for the IT department. The Income Tax department has been without any basis repeating accusations of money-laundering for 4 years – in fact the IT department has been accusing NBC/GE of money-laundering and round-tripping, that NBC acted as a “front”, hawala, etc. In the new ITAT order, none of these terms are mentioned. In fact the ITAT specifically recognises that the funds invested were indeed from NBC: the ITAT order states “the money was from Universal Studios” (a 100% subsidiary of NBC).”
A report by DNA website had said that the tribunal had held Dr Roy responsible for money laundering and tax evasion to the tune of Rs 642 crore. The website further added that the ITAT had held that in the year 2009, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs was hands in gloves with the owners of NDTV in hiding financial information of the foreign shell companies floated and used for money laundering of Rs 642 crores.
The same was also reported by the national broadcaster, Doordarshan News.
In its statement, the NDTV expressed its shock over the haste in which the 14 July order was prepared particularly after the same case had witnessed ’21 adjournments.’
It said, “After the IT department asked for adjournment after adjournment, ensuring there were no hearings for three long years, suddenly the order was prepared in an unprecedented 4 days after arguments ended. So after 21 adjournments, a 385-page order was prepared at lightning speed – almost unprecedented.
“Most alarming for the Government of India and our country is that most of the charges in the ITAT (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) order dated July 14 are in fact not so much against NDTV as they are against the US media giant NBC and one of the most respected global companies GE (and only by implication is NDTV charged) – yet the harassment of NDTV continues, while not even a letter of enquiry has been sent to GE/NBC.”
The NDTV’s statement concluded with even more combative tone when it warned that the channel will be exposing more lies of the Income Tax department in future.
It said, ” The above is merely a first part summary in exposing the errors and the equivocation by the I-T department. For more exposes of the I-T department, watch this space.”