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India doesn't require lesson on freedom of press from NYT: CBI

Press Trust of India  |  New York 

The has responded strongly to a New York Times editorial on the raids, calling it "one-sided" and asserting does not require "any lesson" on freedom of the press from the US daily.

In response to the June 7 editorial 'India's Battered Press', the CBI's press information officer and spokesman R K Gaur said the editorial "gives the impression" that action is not being taken against other big loan defaulters and that the raids on NDTV's founders were a part of a "vendetta" against the broadcaster.

"The editorial is one-sided and doesn't consider the investigation history of the case" against RRPR Holdings, NDTV's holding company, by different and enforcement agencies in since 2011, he said.

Gaur said in the entire case against the "due process of law" is being followed.

"has a robust and independent judiciary that strongly protects democratic freedom and that an aggrieved person can always approach. does not require any lesson on freedom of the press from The Times," he said in his letter to the Editor, adding "our institutions and traditions are nurtured by our rich and diverse cultural heritage and democratic ethos."

The editorial had said that even as India's state-owned banks are holding bad debt of about USD 186 billion, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "hesitated to go after big defaulters".

"But suddenly we have dramatic raids against the founders of an influential media company - years after a loan was settled to a private bank's satisfaction," the editorial said.

In his letter to NYT, Gaur said the is currently investigating over 100 criminal cases worth a total loan default of over USD 5 billion.

"Many of the leading loan defaulters are behind bars, their assets attached, and prosecutions are being pursued vigorously in the courts," he said.

Gaur noted that ICICI bank's loss is merely tip of the iceberg and that RRPR Holdings is also being investigated for irregularities in the mobilisation of funds used for loan repayment. He alleged there have also been serious defaults in payment.

To the NYT editorial's assertion that Hindi was taken off the air for a day for reporting on a sensitive attack on an air base, Gaur said the decision was arrived at after a proper inquiry in which also participated.

"No democracy can allow the country's security and public safety to be compromised by irresponsible reporting of terrorist incidents," he said.

The New York Times editorial board had said that press freedom in "suffered a fresh blow" when the raided homes and offices connected to founders of

"The raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India's media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi," the editorial had said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 16 2017. 19:22 IST