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NDTV Sees A Hostile Act In Its Takeover

It appears to be a hostile act by the Adani Group where the NDTV was not consulted before the takeover. Read More

Wednesday August 24, 2022 11:46 PM, Syed Ali Mujtaba

NDTV Sees A Hostile Act In Its Takeover

Now it’s becoming clearer why the NDTV is taken over by the Adani group. It appears to be a hostile act by the Adani Group where the NDTV was not consulted before the takeover. The hostility emerged after NDTV ran a story against the Adani group getting Sri Lanka’s energy project under the pressure from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Why Adani Group has taken over NDTV?

The NDTV owner RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH) had taken Rs 403.85 crore from Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL) in 2009-10. The loan agreement made in 2009-10, provides the clause that in case of non-repayment of the loan amount, the loan would be converted into equity shares of the NDTV. This amounts to 29.18 percent shares of the NDTV and as a result, the VCPL exercised its right and owns that many shares of the NDTV.

Now the Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL) is purchased by the Adani group. After the deal, the VCPL, now owned by Adani, served a notice to the NDTV to transfer the 29.18% shares within two days. This was done without any discussion with the NDTV and its founder members.


The VCPL served a notice to the founder members of the NDTV Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika stating that VCPL has acquired control of RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH) and as such owns the 29.18% of NDTV that should transfer protonate equity shares to VCPL within two days. The VCPL has already announced that it would give an open offer to the shareholders to buy another 26% share of NDTV.

The Adani group claims that VCPL had waited for 12 years for the repayment of its loan but the NDTV failed to comply thus it has exercised its rights based on a loan agreement it entered with the NDTV in 2009-10.

It may be recalled that a Lookout Circular (LoC) was issued by the CBI on August 9, 2019, for NDTV co-founders Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy which prevented them from traveling abroad. The immigration officials at the Mumbai international airport had stopped them from traveling because NDTV founders were loan defaulters.

There is another version of the takeover of the NDTV. This is that the TV channel had run a story alleging special treatment to the Adani Group by the Sri Lankan government at the behest of the Indian Prime Minister.

The NDTV story was based on the allegation made by the head of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), M M C Ferdinando, who had said that India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, told Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to award renewable-energy projects to the corporate conglomerate headed by his ‘friend’ Gautam Adani.

Ferdinando claimed that 500 MW worth of renewable-energy projects located in the northern part of the island was ‘given’ to a company in the Adani Group after Modi exerted ‘pressure’ on the Sri Lankan president.

A video of the public deposition of M M C Ferdinando went viral on social media in Sri Lanka. Critics claim that this was an egregious example of the kind of crony capitalism being practiced both in India and Sri Lanka.

Now the NDTV in its defense says that since it’s the only TV channel that doesn't blindly and blatantly toe the line of the Modi regime, it’s being haunted by the government in power.

Secondly, it also alleges that there is no denying the fact that the Adani group is very much the most favored corporate group of the Modi regime. It got the energy project only at the behest of the Indian Prime Minister. This has resulted in the hostile act by the Adani group and it has taken revenge by the NDTV takeover.

The NDTV alleges that this exercise of rights by VCPL was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders, who were not made aware of this exercise of rights without any prior notice.

In such a situation the question arises can Prannoy Roy save his media empire from going into the hands of Adanis? Definitely Prannoy can try and fight it out as isn’t a lost cause yet. But what will happen to the TV channel, and its employees when the court battle goes on, who will be their paymasters in the interim period? It appears to be curtains for the NDTV, the only relic of honesty of Manmohan Singh’s liberalization policy in the 1990s.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com.]


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