The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raid at the residence and offices of NDTV promoters Radhika and Prannoy Roy on Monday sent shockwaves through the media. The unexpected search and seizure operation at one of the few TV channels promoted by professionals, and not business or industry, is widely seen as a crude attempt by the Government to browbeat a channel that has not yet fallen in line.
Said an intrepid observer on his Facebook wall, “It seems the decision to go with the CBI is merely to intimidate. You cannot have a case of defrauding a private bank, particularly when the bank is not the complainant. Even if so, the dispute between two private parties is not for the CBI but usually for local police’s Economic Offenses Wing (EOW). Hence, this is irregular.”
“Even Gurumurthy would know that. Maybe he knows that, and has something else in mind. Remember above all he is a dealmaker. He is the RSS ombudsman who gave Gadkari a clean chit despite fake and benami shareholders,” he wrote.
Historian Ramchandra Guha wondered whether the CBI would now be raiding Gautambhai Adani, who owes banks ₹72,000 crore as opposed to the Roys who are accused of having caused a loss of ₹48 crore to ‘private bank’ ICICI.
NDTV staffers did not mince their words. Sreenivasan Jain tweeted,
Another journalist, Praveen Swami, tweeted,
NDTV’s Vikram Chandra tweeted,
NDTV India’s popular anchor Ravish Kumar sarcastically said that NDTV was being targeted for not being part of the ‘Godi media’ (Godi in Hindi stands for lap) and not playing in the lap of the establishment.
Journalist, anchor and author Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted,
Sudheendra Kulkarni said the raid has less to do with any financial wrongdoing than the ‘wrong’ committed by NDTV of being an independent voice.
Till Monday evening, however, neither the National Broadcasters’ Association nor the Editors’ Guild had issued any statement on what appears to be an attempt to strike at media freedom.