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Last Updated : Jun 14, 2019 09:49 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

SEBI bars NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy, wife Radhika from accessing securities markets for 2 years

As per the last shareholding pattern available, Prannoy Roy held 15.94 percent in NDTV while Radhika Roy held 16.33 percent.

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Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy from accessing securities market for a period of two years.

The regulator has also barred them from holding any management positions in NDTV for two years.

The order has been passed for alleged violation of insider trading regulations.

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As per the last shareholding pattern available, Prannoy Roy held 15.94 percent in NDTV while Radhika Roy held 16.33 percent. The aggregate promoters’ shareholding in NDTV was 63.17 percent at the end of the quarter ending on June 2009 which has since remained unchanged.

The latest SEBI order follows an investigation into a complaint received from Quantum Securities, an NDTV shareholder, alleging that RRPR Holdings, Prannoy and Radhika Roy -- all promoters of NDTV --  violated SEBI norms by not disclosing crucial information to the shareholders about loan agreements entered into by them with Vishvapradhan Commercial (VCPL).

SEBI conducted a probe into the alleged violation of takeover norms by VCPL through a 10-year loan ending July 2019, with various clauses that gave it control for up to 52 percent of the media firm.

SEBI had earlier ordered VCPL to make an open offer for up to 26 per cent shares in NDTV from public shareholders as per its rules.

NDTV promoters were alleged to have taken a loan of Rs 375 crore from ICICI Bank, which was repaid in 2009 by taking Rs 350 crore loan from VCPL vide an agreement dated July 21, 2009.

The agreement provided for RRPR issuing a warrant to VCPL, convertible into equity shares aggregating to 99.99 percent of RRPR at the time of conversion at any time during the tenure of the loan or thereafter. This clause itself would translate into a 26 percent stake in NDTV.

Besides, it gave VCPL right to purchase from promoters all equity shares of RRPR at par value.

The agreements fortified the strategy adopted by VCPL to spread its reach up to 52 per cent of NDTV shares in two ways -- indirect acquisition of convertible warrants of the holding company; and by purchase of a freely exercisable call option to buy 26 per cent shares of NDTV.

"The VCPL Loan Agreement-1 was alleged to be material and price sensitive in nature which ought to have been disclosed by Noticees to NDTV who in turn should have disclosed the same to the stock exchanges," SEBI said in its latest order.

Responding to the SEBI order, Radhika and Prannoy Roy said they "believe the SEBI order asking them to step down as directors and to not hold any management positions in NDTV, is based on an incorrect assessment and is a highly unusual and perverse direction. The SEBI order delves into and presents conclusions on issues that were not raised in the show cause notice. They will take urgent legal action as advised within the next few days."

Note: The copy has been updated with the response of the NDTV promoters 
First Published on Jun 14, 2019 07:43 pm
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