The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday issued a showcause notice to NDTV Ltd for violating Foreign Exchange Management Act guidelines, reported PTI. The notice was sent to founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy as well as journalist Vikram Chandra and a few others.
“The investigation showed FEMA contraventions relating to receipt of Foreign Direct Investment by NDTV to the extent of Rs 1,637 crore and the other relating to overseas investments to the tune of Rs 2,732 crore,” the agency said in a statement, according to PTI.
NDTV, however, has refuted the allegations against it. “NDTV maintains that it is being targeted for its fair and independent journalism and that its persecution is intended to signal to other media that unless they fall in line, they will face similar consequences,” the channel’s statement said. “Raids on media owners are further evidence of this.”
According to the agency’s investigation, NDTV received FDI of Rs 725 crore without the approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. The CCEA is the only competent body to permit FDI over Rs 600 crore.
The company showed the FDI as below Rs 600 crore as part of larger conspiracy. “While applying for FIPB [Foreign Investment Promotion Board] approval, NDTV projected FDI as varying between $130-160 million,” said the agency. “Documents of FIPB section also projected FDI differently as Rs 585 crore ($130 million @ Rs 45 per dollar). However, FDI finally received by NDTV was $163 million. Further investigation on this aspect is continuing.”
Besides, there are offences in respect of delays in reporting and filing information with the Reserve Bank of India and delays in allotment of shares. The companies that have allegedly violated the FEMA are NDTV Lifestyle Holdings Ltd (now Ms Lifestyle and Media Holdings Ltd), South Asia Creative Assets Ltd, Astro Overseas Ltd and NDTV Imagine Ltd (now Turner General Entertainment Networks India Pvt Ltd).