That NDTV’s journalism was and is dubious has long been known. I recall once, owing to my suspicions, I even timed their debates for time-share and it confirmed how journos like Barkha Dutt manipulate debates in favour of their bosses in Congress. At other times she would be campaigning against BJP and Narendra Modi and stoking Muslim emotions against the latter as she did in 2012. And their campaign of hatred still continues through which NDTV (and some other media houses too) are singularly focused on tarring ModiSarkar with every incident of any nature that happens in India. Every incident is turned into a national disaster or calamity. And foreign media houses pick up these rants and peddle it further as gospel:
That’s the general idea of what NDTV does. Had it been a Congress govt they would have gladly defended the party. Remember, Barkha Dutt called the Nirbhaya protesters “lumpens” and “drunks”. Add to all this the fact that NDTV is seen as a terrorist-sympathising channel and nothing proved it better than the certificate Hafiz Saeed issued to Barkha. There is no place to hide anymore. But what should be one of the greatest modern mysteries of media is how a channel that has been eternally making losses survives. It is sheer magic indeed. Each time NDTV hits rock bottom some saviour comes through miraculously for a rescue. Why would investors keep pouring money into a losing proposition is an amazing mystery. Let’s look at a bit of history to all this.
It started with the Sunday Guardian carrying two stories “NDTV juggles funds, shares abroad, avoids tax” and “NDTV-ICICI loan chicanery saved Roys”. This was in December 2010, immediately after Radiagate. Both articles are not available now on the Sunday Guardian website but you can read extracts from the articles here and also here. This storm too passed and NDTV, as usual, issued legal threats of civil and criminal defamation to the news magazine. More dirt started coming out. Sanjay Dutt of Quantum Securities sent a series of complaints to Ministry of Corporate Affairs, SEBI and the RBI. His allegations ranged from mal-governance in NDTV to financial skullduggery. Moneylife listed various allegations:
Sanjay Dutt is also a shareholder in NDTV and also a former consultant to the channel. NDTV considered his allegations to financial bodies “defamation” and got a court-restraint stopping him from further allegations. Those who blabber the loudest about “Crony capitalism” are great examples of it too, like NDTV. Sample these from Moneylife based on allegations by Sanjay Dutt:
•Mr Dutt also argues that while public shareholders have made no money, the promoters and directors pay themselves lavishly. As recently as 12 July 2013, the company has sought central government permission under Sec 640B for enhanced remuneration to directors, even though there are no profits from operations nor taxes paid to the government for many years.
•Mr Dutt further says that NDTV’s executive management, a small group close to the promoters, which include editors, law firms, tax advisers and consultants have enjoyed first class business travel, hefty remuneration, ex-gratia bonuses etc adding up to a massive Rs320 crore over four years (plus ESOPS), even as the company has made losses, failed to pay dividends and not paid taxes.
None of the financial bodies and regulators mentioned above ever responded to letters from Sanjay Dutt that contained the allegations. Such is the clout wielded by NDTV at that time under a friendly FM called P. Chidambaram. And each time NDTV sank a bit more, there was always a Knight in Shining Armour coming to its rescue:
“…how marquee institutional investors always line up to acquire this loss-making company’s bits and pieces and exit at a loss at regular intervals, only to make way for other big name investors! The latest was DE Shaw which provided an exit to Goldman Sachs in 2011 by acquiring a 14.2% stake. After this, NDTV acquired a significant investor—Abhay Oswal, who owns nearly 15% of its equity but seems to have no presence on NDTV’s board of directors. Mr Oswal happens to be the father-in-law of Navin Jindal, an industrialist and Congress Member of Parliament”.
Sanjay Dutt became a whistle-blower and exposed to the IT Department on the biggest scams by NDTV to dodge taxes. Rakesh Jhunjunwala, considered a wizard of the stock market, carries this (supposedly a fan site):
“Now, the latest twist is that the income-tax sleuths have got wind of an alleged scam perpetrated by NDTV. Apparently, some subsidiary of NDTV allotted shares to two foreign companies and received an exorbitant amount of Rs. 624 crore. The shares were allotted for an eye-popping consideration of Rs. 7,015 each. The astonishing part is that the subsidiary which allotted the shares has no business operations and there is nothing to show that it has any value let alone the value of Rs. 7,015 per share. What is even more surprising that the shares were sold in the very next year for a price of Rs. 634 per share and a whopping loss of Rs. 584 crore was claimed”.
When asked about the allotment of shares to foreigners Prannoy Roy and Vikram Chandra nonchalantly told the IT that they were “Selling Dreams”. That’s what NDTV has been doing for a very long time, selling dreams, bogus stories, fake news, vicious campaigns, pro-terrorists slant and sometimes anti-Hindu and even anti-India stuff. They seem to have got a lot of money for selling these wet dreams it appears. For this fraudulent transaction the IT has slapped a demand of 525 crores along with penalties adding up to 825 crores. Jhunjhunwala’s comments are in the image that I tweeted on August 6:
That’s not even the whole story. Sometime back an IT officer was reportedly harassed through false allegations because he alleged money laundering by NDTV. This officer, SK Srivastava, was harassed, suspended, legal cases slapped against him and even allegations of sexual harassment. He had exposed money laundering by NDTV and involvement of P. Chidambaram in the episode. Ram Jethmalani had directly accused PC of receiving bribes which were laundered by NDTV. Madhu Kishwar had narrated the whole harrowing saga on her site Manushi. I believe she too got a legal notice for defamation for writing the story.
The IT Dept. issued its notice for 525 crores in June and demanded a reply by June 22. PGurus site notes that Prannoy Roy is away in South Africa and NDTV has requested more time to reply to the notice. This is in addition to: “NDTV is already facing a FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) notice of Rs.2030 crores and the matter is before the Adjudication forum of Enforcement Directorate. In Aircel-Maxis case, the Enforcement Directorate in its charge sheet details that NDTV also received around Rs.250 crores from Astro All Asia Networks, a subsidiary of Maxis during the scam period. The 2G Court had already issued a Letter of Rogatory to Britain in this regard”.
Jhunjunwala notes in his article that NDTV stock has sunk so badly that he refers to it as “Junkyard stock”. That NDTV has consistently committed financial misdeeds is not in doubt anymore. It never was. Under the previous Congress govt all these misdeeds could be covered up and wiped off. There is a new govt at the Centre now. PM Modi has promised to punish the corrupt and be a “Chowkidaar” against thieves looting the nation. It is now up to ModiSarkar to ensure Junkyard NDTV pays for its sins and winds up. NDTV is useless to the nation and offer no value to anyone. With 3% viewership of the English audience it’s no value to even advertisers who advertise under pressure. The only thing NDTV does is create communal and caste divides, damage India’s name abroad, indulge in fake campaigns with a political agenda and most of all its Pro-Pak, Pro-terrorist agenda. India can do without their nonsense.