New Delhi: CBI today issued a statement clarifying that searches have been carried out at the premises of the promoters and their offices based on search warrants issued by the Competent Court.
The CBI statement comes in response to reports in sections of the media raising certain issues and the statement issued by NDTV leveling allegations against the CBI investigation in the case relating to the promoters of NDTV and others.
CBI has clarified that it has not conducted any search of registered office of NDTV, media studio, news room or premises connected with media operations. CBI fully respects the freedom of press and is committed to the free functioning of news operations.
CBI has said that it has registered the case based on the complaint of a share holder of ICICI bank and NDTV after carrying out due diligence. Denigrating the allegations at this stage of investigation and wrongly accusing the agency of acting under pressure is uncalled for and an attempt to malign the image of the CBI. The investigation is being conducted as per the due process of law and under the jurisdiction of the Court of law. The result of investigation will be filed before the competent Court of law based on the evidence adduced during investigation.
It has been mentioned in the statement of NDTV that NDTV and its promoters have never defaulted on any loan, CBI has pointed out adding the allegations under investigation are not regarding the default in loan repayment; but relate to the wrongful gain of Rs 48 crore to the promoters – Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy, M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd and a corresponding wrongful loss to the ICICI bank arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy.
According to CBI, it is alleged in the complaint that the promoters of NDTV – Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy and M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd, acting in criminal conspiracy with unknown officials of ICICI bank, violated section 19(2) of the Banking Regulation Act, the Master Circular DBOD No. Dir B90/13.07.05/98-99 dated 28.08.1998 of the Reserve Bank of India and in furtherance of the conspiracy, ICICI bank took the entire shareholding of the promoters in NDTV(nearly 61 %) as collateral and then accepted prepayment of the loan by reducing the interest rate from 19 % p.a to nearly 9.5 % p.a and as a consequence thereof, causing a wrongful loss of Rs 48 crore to ICICI bank and a corresponding wrongful gain to the promoters of NDTV – Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy and M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd.
NDTV in its statement questions the jurisdiction of CBI by stating that ICICI is a private bank. It is clarified that the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Ramesh Gelli vs CBI of 2016, held that the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 are applicable to the officials of private banks. Therefore, CBI has jurisdiction to take up investigation of the cases of private banks.
CBI has urged all concerned to exercise restraint and to cooperate with the investigation. CBI has further stated that it is committed to carrying out the investigation expeditiously and in accordance with the due process of law. CBI also reiterates its commitment to the motto – “Industry, Impartiality and Integrity”.
CBI registered a case and conducted searches on Monday against Promotor/Director of RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd and others, including unknown officials of ICICI Bank for causing alleged loss of Rs. 48 crore to ICICI Bank under Section 120 B and 420 of IPC read with 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of Prevention of C Act, 1988 on a complaint for causing an alleged loss of Rs.48 crore to ICICI Bank.
It has been alleged in the FIR that the Delhi based private company in question, in order to buy 20% of the shares of another New Delhi based TV company from the public had taken a loan of about Rs. 500 crore(approx) from a private Finance Company. To repay this loan, the said private company based at Delhi took a loan of Rs.375 crore(approx) (disbursed Rs 350 crore) @ 19% p.a. from ICICI bank. The promoters of New Delhi based TV company pledged the entire shareholding of the promoters of this TV company as collateral for this loan with ICICI bank. This pledging of shares was not reported to SEBI, Stock Exchanges or to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. It was alleged that such concealment was done as the creation of collateral of more than 61% of the voting capital was in violation of section 19(2) of Banking Regulation Act. (It should not be more than 30% of the share capital). The loan was allegedly sanctioned in violation of the RBI Master Circular dated 28.08.1998. An interest waiver of about 10% was allegedly given by ICICI. An alleged loss of about Rs 48 crore(approx) was suffered by ICICI bank and a consequent undue advantage was accrued to said Delhi based private company. It was also alleged that the bank did not insist on recovery of the entire loan amount when the promotors had adequate source of funding.
The searches conducted on Monday at four places including Delhi, Dehradun & Mussourie led to recovery of documents related to the case.