Sebi fines NDTV Rs 5 cr over disclosure lapses

Sebi fines NDTV Rs 5 cr over disclosure lapses; company to appeal against order

New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) on Tuesday said it will appeal against market regulator Sebi's order imposing a fine of Rs 5 crore on the company for alleged failure to disclose price-sensitive information about certain loan agreements.

The company, in a regulatory filing, said that it has been advised by lawyers that the Sebi order is inter alia based on an inaccurate assessment of facts and will not withstand scrutiny in appeal.

In its order on Tuesday, Sebi also said that the loan agreements had clauses and conditions that substantially affected the functioning of the media company.

NDTV said that it has stated on several occasions, including in disclosures to the exchanges, "that journalists Radhika and Prannoy Roy, who are its founders and promoters, continue to hold majority stake with 61.45 per cent of the paid-up share capital of the company".

According to the company, there has been no change in control through any arrangements or transactions with third parties and that any report or allegation to the contrary is baseless.

The company "will appeal urgently" against the Sebi order imposing a fine of Rs 5 crore for alleged non-disclosure of loan agreements entered into in 2009-2010 by the founders with Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL), the filing said.

"NDTV was not a party to this arrangement and it disclosed these agreements in 2015 in response to media reports that speculated change in control.

"The core issue of the alleged surrender of control to VCPL is pending adjudication at the Securities Appellate Tribunal, which, in 2019, granted a stay in favour of the founders of NDTV, which is still in operation," the filing said.