Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Saturday that those who protested the CBI raids against the promoters of news channel NDTV were not worried about freedom of the press, but they had done so because of their opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr. Naidu, who also handles the Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation portfolios, said that the protesters should react to the CBI's statement. "I want them to react to that. The CBI has said that the enquiry started in 2011-'12. Who was in the government [then]?" the Minister asked.
"What were these people doing then, those who were shouting yesterday? What happened to them when the Congress was in power?....Why this propaganda against our government? Because they are not able to digest Modi....Modi is the most democratic Prime Minister of this country; most dynamic," he said.
Mr. Naidu accused those who spoke up in favour of NDTV of forgetting that the investigation began during the UPA-II regime. "Instead of that, you are trying to politicalise [sic.] and step up your anti-Modi campaign. Some of these people went to Varanasi to campaign against Modi. They went to Gujarat.... Everywhere, Modi," Mr. Naidu said.
The Minister said that, during the Congress regime, NDTV was taken off air for certain issues. "My point is, that they [the CBI] have not entered the NDTV office. They have not entered the newsroom. They have not touched any media. There were some questions about some diversion from the promoters. They should answer it, they should respond to that," he said.
"Is the media above law? Do you have immunity?....There is no action taken against the channel itself," Mr. Naidu reasoned.
The Minister alleged that his decision to hold a review meeting on the status of the implementation of central government schemes in the state during a recent visit was not unprecedented as portrayed in some quarters. "We are Team India...Instead of the mukhiyamantri (Chief Minister) coming to Delhi, I am coming to Chennai, meeting the Chief Minister, going to his Secretariat and discussing schemes," he said.
"Some extraordinarily intelligent person was saying that it never happened when Jayalalithaaji was Chief Minister....I reviewed when madam Jayalalithaaji was Chief Minister. Jayalalithaaji came to the Secretariat on a Sunday. It has never happened in the history of Tamil Nadu. Both of us discussed. That is the way forward," he said. – The Hindu