Bhubaneswar: The Sambad Group, the largest media house in Odisha, today said the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) probe against it is a clear case of political vendetta and an attack on the freedom of press.
The EOW had registered a case against Sambad Group under Sections 506, 467, 468, 471, 420 and 120-B of the IPC as per a complaint lodged by a former employee of the media house.
“The EOW officials visited Sambad Group’s office today afternoon. Our officials fully cooperated the EOW team in its probe and furnished all documents. Sambad Group is committed to extend its cooperation to the agency in future as it has nothing to hide in connection with the case. The media house firmly believes that there is no truth in the allegations levelled against it,” said a statement issued by the media organisation.
The media house further revealed that the EOW has not provided any FIR copy to it.
On the contrary, a press release issued by the EOW revealed that a former employee of the media group had lodged a complaint against it on September 16.
In his complaint, the complainant, who is now working in Odia daily ‘Sakala’, alleged a bank loan fraud against Sambad Group that reportedly took place in 2015.
“The timing of the complaint has raised serious questions regarding intent of the complainant,” added the statement.
It is worth mentioning here that the EOW registered the case against Sambad Group a few days after its Editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik penned two editorials raising certain issues regarding the chopper rides of 5T secretary VK Pandian and the governance model in Odisha.
Earlier, the media house was barred from state government advertisements. Besides, several private companies and business establishments were threatened not to release advertisements to Sambad Group.
“Sambad Group believes that the entire episode is a clear case of political vendetta and an attack on the freedom of press,” the statement further added.