Update at 2.15 PM: IT stocks were holding on to their gains even as the Sensex slipped further. Infosys was up 2.09 percent, TCS was trading 3.62 percent higher, Wipro was up 1.42 percent and HCL Technologies was trading at Rs 891, up 3.83 percent.
NDTV shares were down 3.47 percent to Rs 58.35 apiece, in the context of CBI raids on the news channel over alleged financial irregularities indulged by the promoters, including Prannoy Roy. The alleged irregularities were first exposed in December 2010 by the Sunday Guardian, a publication owned by veterain journalist M J Akbar, now a minister in the Modi government.
The share price hovered around Rs 460 (Rs 466 on January 14, 2008).
A post on LinkedIn by Akanksha Ojha, who introduces herself as chief manager, corporate banking group and investment banking at the private lender, alleged money-laundering by the promoters Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika Roy.
"NDTV took Rs 396 crore loan from ICICI Bank to shell company RRPR Holding showing NDTV assets. The very next day diverted Rs 21 crore to Prannoy & Rs 71 crore to wife Radhika's bank account. This is purely a legendary fraud of Illegal money laundering. Let them scream 'Vendetta', let them scream 'Emergency' and 'stifling the free speech' NDTV misappropriation of Rs 92 crore out of Rs 376 crore taken from ICICI was exposed in 2008. It has now reached the stage of filing an FIR after CBI has collected enough proof and evidence," she claimed.
The raids on Monday conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) pertain to a complaint by Sanjay Dutt, identified by the probe agency as director of Quantum Services Private Limited, on April 28, 2017.
He had repeated allegations made by him in 2013 as to the manner in which ICICI Bank gave a loan of Rs 375 crore to the news channel in October 2008 that was settled by the news channel in August 2009. The allegation against the channel is that it entered into an allegedly fraudulent loan repayment deal with the bank "causing a loss of Rs 48 crore" to the lender.
NDTV described Dutt as a "disgruntled former consultant" and accused the CBI of acting on a "shoddy complaint" by him.
"It is clearly the independence and fearlessness of NDTV's team that the ruling party's politicians cannot stomach and the CBI raid is merely another attempt at silencing the media," the news channel said in a statement.
NDTV is also facing charges of money laundering to the tune of Rs 2,030 crore, by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).The show-cause notice was issued by the ED in November 2015.
Shrugging off the news about layoffs, H-1B visa woes and other challenges in the past few weeks, shares of IT companies rallied on the stock exchanges. HCL Technologies, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, TCS were trading with gains in the range of 1.50 to 5 percent on Tuesday.
At around 12.30 pm, HCL Tech was trading 4.09 percent higher at Rs 894, TCS was up 3.54 percent at Rs 2,693, Wipro was trading with gains of 1.38 percent at Rs 563, Infosys was up 2.28 percent at Rs 982 and Tech Mahindra was trading at Rs 410, up 1.83 percent.
The BSE Sensex was trading 75 points lower at 31,234 while the NSE Nifty was down 23 points to 9,652 after hitting 9,700 in early trade. Top Sensex losers were Tata Motors, ONGC and ITC.
The Reserve Bank of India's Monetary Policy Committee begins its first meeting of the current fiscal today (Tuesday). The two-day meeting comes amid mixed macroeconomic data; while retail inflation at 2.99 percent (for April) is far below the central bank's threshold of 4 percent, the fourth quarter (Q4) GDP growth rate came at a low of 6.1 percent, reflecting the persisting impact of demonetisation last November.
ICICI Bank, which is in the news in the context of alleged favours to news channel NDTV, was trading 0.52 percent lower at Rs 318.