Various political parties on Tuesday expressed shock over CBI’s searches at the residence of NDTV founder Prannoy Roy and condemned the action saying it was an attack on the freedom of the press.
The Congress condemned the raids and criticised the NDA government for its “pick and choose” policy while taking on the media houses.
The party also criticised the Centre over the CBI raids, saying it was “blatant abuse of power taking place in the country”.
The TMC, JD-U and AAP also criticised the Central government for the raids.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed shock over the CBI searches on Roy’s residences and said the trend of conducting such search operations was “disturbing”.
“Shocked at the raids on Dr @PrannoyRoyNDTV’s house. He is highly respected and reputed. Disturbing trend,” Banerjee tweeted.
Senior Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said the Congress strongly condemns the action and warns the Central government that it should not try to hound the media as the act is seen as “an attempt to create an atmosphere of terror and muzzle the voice” of the fourth estate.
“It is a strong attack on the freedom of the press and the Congress party strongly condemns it. We warn the central government that it should not try to hound and threaten the media,” he said.
“We are standing with the media. If the need arises, we will use democratic means to oppose this action,” Maken said, adding that the prime minister had used derogatory words like “bazaaru” and a Union minister had branded the media as “presstitutes”.
Another senior party leader Anand Sharma said, “Centralisation of decision-making is happening at the Centre. The media and the other voices of dissent are being muzzled. A warning is being sent to the media outlets to fall in line or face a similar fate.”
The Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said “The government machinery is being misused and an environment of fear is being created through the (investigation) agencies.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the searches saying it was an attempt to “silence independent and anti-establishment voices”.
“We strongly condemn raids on Dr Roy and NDTV group. It is an attempt to silence independent and anti-establishment voices,” he tweeted.
The JD(U) termed the raids on NDTV founders as the “beginning of black days”, saying the government’s action is reminiscent of the raids carried out on the Indian Express group premises by the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency.
“NDTV is known for its objectivity and the raids are aimed at stifling the voices of independent media and freedom of expression. It is beginning of black days,” its spokesperson K C Tyagi said.
He said journalists should rally against the government’s action.
The CBI on Monday carried out searches at the residence of NDTV founder Roy for allegedly concealing a share transaction from the SEBI and causing a loss to a private bank, a move termed by the channel as a “witch-hunt” based on “same old” false accusations.
The CBI has registered a case against RRPR Holding Pvt Limited, Roy, his wife Radhika, and unidentified officials of ICICI Bank for criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption.
RRPR Holdings had allegedly taken a loan of Rs 500 crore from India Bulls Private Limited to purchase 20 per cent shares of NDTV from the public.