As part of efforts to silence dissenting voices, Modi’s friend Adani buys NDTV

New Delhi Television Ltd. (NDTV), considered to be an independent news channel in India will no longer be able to retain its impartiality as the Adani Group, owned by Gautam Adani, a friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is set to get the NDTV’s ownership rights.

The move prompted NDTV founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy to resign as the directors of Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy (RRPR) Holding Private Limited. RRPR Holding Private Limited is the promoter company of NDTV. It holds a 29.18% stake in the news channel that is being taken over by the Adani Group.

NDTV said that RRPR Holding has approved the appointment of Sudipta Bhattacharya, Sanjay Pugalia and Senthil Sinniah Chengalvarayan as directors of the board.

The Adani Group had announced in August that it will acquire 29.18% stake in the promoter company, Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy Holding Private Limited. NDTV had then said that the takeover was done without the consent or any sort of notice served to Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy.

In November, the Adani Group, a ports-to-energy conglomerate, decided to make an open offer to acquire an additional 26% stake in NDTV. This will bring the group’s total stake to 55.18%, enough to allow it to take NDTV’s ownership rights.

The offer opened for subscription on November 22 and win continue till December 5.

Political analysts in India believe that the NDTV deal is part of Modi regime’s ongoing efforts to not only silence the dissenting voices, but also to make them a tool in advancing the Hindutva agenda of the BJP government in the country.

Commenting on the deal, the BBC writes: “Critics of the sale are more sceptical. Many regard NDTV as one of India’s few independent news networks, which has stayed away from the shouty jingoism of many of its peers. A study by Oxford University and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that 76% of respondents trust information from NDTV.”

“Mr Adani’s takeover has sparked concerns that this would hurt its editorial integrity. Despite the diversity of media choices, independent journalism in India doesn’t appear to be in fine fettle: the country dropped to 150 of 180 countries ranked in Paris-based Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index this year, its lowest position ever. Mr Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rejects the findings, saying the index adopts a methodology that is both “questionable and non-transparent”.