On ‘NDTV Frauds’
by Rohini on 27 Mar 2017 6 Comments

NDTV Frauds’ is a fascinating book, exposing the frauds, corruption, and unholy nexus in the Indian media world, possibly for the first time ever. Written by Sree Iyer, the book is a no-hold-barred attack on the dirty practises of media houses, in concert with obliging politicians and bureaucrats. It is full of revelations, well-researched, and hence worth reading in order to understand the hidden activities of media owners who preach ethics to society.


In the minds of the Indian citizen, there is a space and enormous respect for the media. Using the halo of journalism and under the garb of Freedom of Press, media owners misuse their position and in the end, degrade the values of journalism.  On several occasions, media willingly became the tool of false propaganda, blackmailing and illegal money-making, all with the blessings of uncouth politicians and corporate icons with hidden agendas. This deserves to be exposed and that is the reason for this book. 


In just 160 pages, Iyer exposes, with all documents, the money siphoning activities of NDTV owners, Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy. None of these have as yet been challenged, though the work has been in the news for some weeks now. Possibly this is due to the irrefutable facts presented.


As Managing Editor of the web portal, PGurus.com, Iyer had published a series of frauds, tax violations, and siphoning of money, committed by India’s premier TV channel, NDTV, and its major promoters. This gave him the idea of putting together a simple, uncomplicated book, to educate and disseminate the illegalities committed by this major media organization, which enjoys a pristine reputation among ordinary citizens.


This book reveals how media organisations misuse and violate laws in connivance with crony capitalists, pliant law firms and politicians, to amass personal wealth. The narrative explains how two promoters of NDTV, along with key top management, colluded over the years with government functionaries and politicians to break laws, evade taxes and deceive shareholders of a public listed company. None of which was possible without political patronage and “wheeling-and-dealing”, an art form with the Lutyens club, which created a biased public discourse for a select elite class.


Apart from Stock Exchange manipulations, money laundering from tax havens and tax evasions, the book exposes the secret tales of unholy relations between politicians and crony journalists. Crisply written, it opens the eyes of readers to the truth about so-called Independent media or neutral journalism.


When the flood gates opened during the Narasimha Rao regime, a few canny persons discerned that there was scope for a large land grab, and using guile and cunning along with the right connections, reaped huge rewards. Throughout India’s corporates, you can sense an underlying theme of a Promoter reaping all the rewards and letting his/her corporate entities (mostly built on public shareholder or bank money) take all the risk.


Rarely does one find a Promoter, the individual, suing others for defamation; they tend to hide behind their corporate veils, letting the company spend for all expenses and if the verdict goes in their favour, claim victory. This feudal system of Promoter knows has also been encouraged by pliant Boards. It is common for Promoters to cheat Banks, Stock Exchanges and Minority shareholders as they run their companies like a fiefdom.


Add to that a bureaucracy which is only too willing to assist the Promoters in helping them to be in scenarios where the outcome is pre-defined - “Heads I win, Tails you lose”. Most of the bending of rules/ regulations happens because the Private Sector gets involved in the drafting of the specifications and thereby tailors them to ensure the outcome it wants. In fact, in many such instances, the “powers that be” i.e. our perpetually ruling and non-elected bureaucracy, are also appointed by private sector influence and patronage to key positions in government. It is a vicious cycle.


One of the questions raised in the book is worth pondering. How did NDTV get licenses in 2003 for a TV channel when the BJP-led government was in power and NDTV was mercilessly attacking BJP’s Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from 2002 onwards for the riots in his State? This is a moral question for the BJP’s leadership in Delhi.


Another question is a matter of law. How did NDTV get a license when its promoter, Prannoy Roy, was named in an FIR by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for siphoning funds of Doordarshan in 1998? This shows the power wielded by NDTV in all political parties from the late 1990s. More shockingly, NDTV used helicopters without the necessary clearances from the Ministry of Civil Aviation.


The homes and offices of successive Presidents and Prime Ministers were accessible to NDTV. The only exception is Narendra Modi. He is justified in that. The book gives us shocking details how the TV channel management used to muzzle the whistle-blower Income Tax officer SK Srivastava and minority shareholder Sanjay Dutt.


Unfortunately, today, siphoning money from banks, manipulating the share prices in Stock Exchange are the preferred goals of most media owners, not the delivery of news to the masses, not creation of social or political narratives, not debating the national agenda. There are ad hominen attacks against opponents by spinning or creating fake news. Top journalists and media owners connive with politicians and industrial icons to build images or tarnish images, all of which is detailed in the book, aptly titled ‘NDTV Frauds’


A must read by all who follow politics, business and journalism.  

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