News television network NDTV’s founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy were on Friday detained at Mumbai airport and prevented from leaving the country, PTI reported. NDTV issued a statement condemning the incident.
“In a complete subversion of basic rights and in shameful continuance of the campaign to warn the media that nothing less than complete obeisance is acceptable, NDTV founders Radhika and Prannoy Roy were today prevented from leaving the country; they were scheduled to spend a week abroad and their return was booked for the 15th,” the news network said.
The news network said they had been stopped on the basis of a “fake and totally unsubstantiated corruption case” filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation about an ICICI Bank loan that their company, RRPR Holdings, had taken.
“The case has been challenged by the NDTV founders and their company in the Delhi High Court where the matter has been pending for two years,” the news network said. “Radhika and Prannoy Roy have been fully cooperating with the case and they have been travelling abroad regularly and returning to the country so to suggest they are a flight risk is ludicrous.”
The company said that the authorities did not inform the Delhi High Court or the Roys that they would be detained at the airport. “It is, along with events like raids on media owners, a warning to the media to fall in line – or else,” NDTV said.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India had in June barred the Roys from the securities market, as well as from holding any managerial posts in the news network for two years. SEBI said it passed the order because the Roys had allegedly violated insider trading regulations.
The markets regulator had initiated an investigation after an NDTV shareholder claimed that Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy and RRPR Holdings 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.