India’s federal police were accused Monday of running a “witch-hunt” against a news broadcaster after launching raids and pursuing the network’s co-founder over allegations of defrauding a bank.
Police named NDTV co-founder Prannoy Roy, his wife Radhika and a private company linked to NDTV as among those responsible for the “alleged losses of 480 million rupees ($7.45 million) to a bank”, said R. K Gaur, spokesman for the federal Central Bureau of Investigation.
A criminal case has been registered against the pair while federal agents raided properties in New Delhi and Dehradun, a hill town in northern India, in relation to their investigation, Gaur added without providing further details.
The broadcaster rallied behind its embattled boss, dismissing the raids as “concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on same old, endless false accusations”.
“NDTV and its promoters will fight tirelessly against this witch-hunt by multiple agencies. We will not succumb to these attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
NDTV’s editorial director Sonia Singh said the network, which broadcasts in English and Hindi, would “not be cowed by false charges”.
Prominent news anchor turned politician Ashutosh, who goes by one name, urged the Indian media to unite in protest against the “government’s oppressive measures”.
“Media should support Prannoy Roy,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
NDTV has been targeted by right-wing groups for its perceived pro-opposition stance on a number of issues.
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