In a business story, with its numerous legalities and illegalities, it is often difficult to separate the grain from the chaff. The complaint by Alanda Media, the new owners of TV9 group, landed former CEO Ravi Prakash in Hyderabad central prison. Team Ravi Prakash has now posed a set of 10 questions to the complainant and the investigating agency, the Hyderabad police.
Filter Kaapi is publishing the complaint copy by Alanda Media as well as the rejoinder given to Filter Kaapi by Team Ravi Prakash, for the reader to gain clarity.
1. TV9 group has been paying bonus for over than a decade now. Evidence will be in the returns and balance sheets of the ABCL, the company that runs TV9. The only time the employees did not get bonus was when the channel was blocked in Telangana by the ruling TRS in 2014. All employees of TV9 group across the country got bonus in 2018-2019 also. So how is Ravi Prakash and two others taking a bonus of Rs 18.31 crore, a fraud? If this is a fraud, will they also take back bonus of all employees of the last financial year? (Editor’s Note : The complaint says the withdrawal did not substantiate any entitlement under law)
2. Why is Clifford Pereira still on the board of ABCL? He also received the bonus of Rs 5.97 crore while Ravi Prakash is behind bars.
3. According to Alanda media’s case in NCLT, they got Ministry of I&B approval (it is mandatory for any board member of a TV channel to get MIB clearance) on 8 May 2019. How can Ravi Prakash take an approval for the bonus from the Board in September last year when it was formed only this summer? (Editor’s Note : Alanda Media had taken over ABCL in August 2018)
4. Didn’t the auditors of Alanda Media do due diligence and note this bonus issue before taking over 90 per cent of the shares of the company?
5. Why doesn’t the complaint copy of 4 September 2019, have no signature?
6. The complaint copy says that “the Board of Directors at their meeting on 24 September 2019 had detailed deliberations about the fraudulent withdrawal of the said amounts and decided to file the complaints”. How can a complaint dated 4 September mention a Board meeting twenty days later?
7. Assuming the date of complaint was a typo error and they actually meant 4 October 2019 (and not 4 September 2019), does it mean the Hyderabad police finished its investigation into the complaint in just 18 hours and decided that the case warranted Ravi Prakash’s arrest on 5 October?
8. The High court has said that it is a case of arbitration and a private matter. Or at best, a Serious Fraud Investigation case. Why is the Hyderabad police investigating the matter?
9. Ravi Prakash is appearing at the police station every alternate day. His passport is not with him. In a company case, the accused should get a 21-day notice. What was the hurry?
10. Was the hurry because ToliVelugu, a Telugu news platform launched by Ravi Prakash had carried an interview with the RTC employees union leader who had made damning allegations against the new owners of TV9?