With the approval from regulatory authorities like SEBI and Income Tax, the road for NDTV coming to Adani Group is clear. Previously, the Roys said that to acquire a 30% stake in NDTV, the Adani group will need approval from the Income Tax department. “Further, RRPRH has intimated VCPL that as individuals, Radhika and Prannoy Roy may individually require independent approval, under section 281 of the Income Tax Act, from the Income Tax Authorities, to deal with any assets, including indirect shareholding in NDTV,” it said.
Dilemma of Roys
Roys wanted to put legal and regulatory hurdles on the path of Adani Group’s takeover of NDTV but most of the roadblocks are now cleared. The Roys also went to SEBI, which later said that it does not restrain Roys from allocating the shares.
Adani group in an exchange filing said, “In this regard, we would like to inform you that VCPL has also written a letter dated August 29, 2022, to Sebi, requesting Sebi to help provide clarity, certainty and avoid confusion in the minds of public shareholders of NDTV that has arisen due to the stand taken by RRPR and issue appropriate response to RRPR clarifying that the Sebi order does not restrain RRPR from allotting shares to VCPL…” (sic)
Previously Adani group acquired a 29% stake of NDTV through a third party, to which Roys had sold the stake in 2009. The Roys continue to hold 32.26 per cent in NDTV, and as of now are the controllers of the firm as largest shareholders.
NDTV’s current management is, obviously, not very happy with the bid of Adani to takeover NDTV, that too without informing them. NDTV in its statement stated “The NDTV founders and the company would like to make it clear that this exercise of rights by VCPL was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders, who, like NDTV, have been made aware of this exercise of rights only today. As recently as yesterday, NDTV had informed the exchanges that there was no change in the shareholding of its founders…” (sic)
VCPL and NDTV relation
VCPL gave a loan of 350 crore rupees to NDTV in 2009 which the company used to repay the 375 crore rupees the media company had taken from ICICI Bank in 2008. The loan agreement gave VCPL an effective control of 52 percent shares of NDTV through various clauses. Under the agreement, Roys gave 99.99 percent shares of RRPR to VCPL, which the company could claim at any time between the 10-year loan period or after that. This gave VCPL a claim on 26 percent of NDTV’s shares and a call option for another 26 percent shares gave VCPL 52 percent effective control.
‘Untouched Money’ of Roys
In 2017, CBI raided the houses of Prannoy and Radhika Roy and at that time the Roys made a foul cry of attack on press freedom. The order by SEBI will also strengthen the case of CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED). CBI has already filed an FIR which alleged that the Roys bought a house in South Africa by the diversion of 45 crore rupees from the ICICI loan. The investigation authority is yet to file a charge sheet in the case, the SEBI findings will enable ED to attach properties of the Roys under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and could lead them to jail for a seven-year term.
The fact that NDTV is in deep trouble is not hidden from anyone, its problems are getting worse with each passing day and its political patron is also not in power to help it out. It is in a sad state today because of its agenda-driven journalism, prioritizing agenda over truth, and vicious hatred for one particular party. Because of all these biases, its viewership has drastically decreased but still, they didn’t learn their lesson and carried on with their anti-India and anti-Hindu propaganda. The alienation of viewers is clearly visible in their TRP ratings which are on the last spot. If NDTV does not get its house in order, financially as well as qualitatively, the end might not be very far.
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