The Securities and Exchange Board of India on Friday barred NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy from accessing the securities market for a period of two years, as well as from holding any managerial posts in the news network. SEBI said it passed the order because the Roys had allegedly violated insider trading regulations, The Economic Times reported.
In a statement, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy said the order was “based on an incorrect assessment and highly unusual directive”. “They will take urgent legal action as advised within the next few days,” the statement added.
The markets regulator had initiated an investigation after an NDTV shareholder claimed that Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and RRPR Holdings (another promoter of the news channel) had not disclosed information about loan agreements they entered into with a company known as Vishvapradhan Commercial. ICICI Bank was also part of this agreement. The SEBI investigated the period from October 14, 2008, to November 22, 2017, to make its assessment.
“Since the information related to ICICI loan agreement was concealed from the public shareholders of NDTV, the shareholders were not aware of any such agreement entered into by promoter directors of NDTV,” SK Mohanty, whole time SEBI member, said in the order. “In the absence of material information relating to ICICI loan agreement being available in the public domain, they were not in a position to take any informed decision with respect to dealing in the scrip of NDTV.”
He added: “Hence, by concealing such material information while personally dealing in shares of the company, the noticees were alleged to have committed fraud on the minority public shareholders of the company.”
Prannoy Roy holds 15.94% of the shareholding in NDTV, while his wife Radhika Roy holds 16.33% as per the latest figures available, Moneycontrol reported.