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Politicians, journalists express alarm over CBI raids on NDTV founder.

Summary: Kejriwal condemns raid, says attempt to 'silence anti-establishment voices'

IANS

New Delhi: Political leaders and journalists on Monday expressed alarm over the CBI raids at NDTV founder Prannoy Roy's residence over an alleged bank loan default and accused the Modi government of stifling free speech.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the raids as a "disturbing trend". Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was attempt to "silence anti-establishment voices".

"Shocked at the raids on Prannoy Roy NDTV's house. He is highly respected and reputed. Disturbing trend," Mamata, also the Trinamool Congress chairperson, said on Twitter.

"We strongly condemn raids on [Prannoy] Roy and NDTV group. It's an attempt to silence independent and anti-establishment voices," Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal tweeted. His party echoed the sentiment.

While former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav did not make a comment, he retweeted Mamata and other journalists' tweets.

Historian Ramachandra Guha tweeted: "The UPA regime was defined by cronyism and corruption; this BJP government by vengefulness and vindictiveness.

"The UPA was desperately keen to favour its friends and relatives; this government is consumed by the desire to punish its critics and rivals," he said.

Congress leader and former information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said the raids were a "direct assault" on the freedom of the press.

'No witch hunt'

Lawyer and Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan, while pointing to a BJP spokesperson being asked to leave a NDTV show, said the attacks was a move by the Modi government to intimidate the media.

"Raids on NDTV take place 3 days after BJP spokesman is asked to leave [Nidhi] Razdan's show. The message is clear. Government intimidating the media," said Bhushan pointing to BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra being asked to leave a show on NDTV after he accused the channel of having an "agenda".

Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation who has been associated with the BJP, said: "Raids on Prannoy Roy have less to do with financial wrongdoing, more with the 'wrong' of NDTV being an independent media voice. I condemn it."

A host of prominent journalists including Siddharth Varadarajan and Swati Chaturvedi flayed the Modi government for the CBI action.

Even as the raids were being condemned on social media networks, Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu rubbished allegations of witch-hunt saying the law was taking its own course.

"They [CBI] must have got some information and that's why they might have taken these steps," Naidu said. "There is no witch hunt against anyone at all as this government does not believe in interfering."

The CBI registered the case against Roy, his wife Radhika, a private company and others. The agency conducted searches at Roy's Greater Kailash-I residence in south Delhi for causing alleged loss to a bank.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jun 5, 2017
Words:483
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