Zee criticises ‘illegal arrest’, seeks release of editors

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Zee News CEO, Alok Agarwal (right), and Supreme Court senior lawyer, R. K. Handoo, addressing a press conference following the arrest of two editors of the Zee Group in the Capital on Wednesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Zee Group has condemned the “illegal arrest” of its two journalists Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia and demanded their immediate release on Wednesday.

The editors of Zee News (Chaudhary) and Zee Business (Ahluwalia) were arrested last night.

The Group denied allegations of attempt to extort Rs 100 crore from Jindal Steel and Power Ltd for not airing news reports linking the company to the coal block allocation scam.

Zee News CEO Alok Agrawal has accused the UPA-II Government of intimidating the media and said this is the second time in 65 years of democracy in independent India where media is being censored.

Supreme Court lawyer R.K. Handoo questioned the timing and the sections under which the arrests were made stating that these sections were put for non-bailable offence and not as a bailable offence.

He also questioned why the editors were arrested on Tuesday night when the FIR was filed on October 2, despite both of them co-operating in the investigations.

Zee Group has alleged that Jindal was the one who offered a bribe first to the editors and then to the company and claimed that he tried influencing various officials in Zee Group through his eldest brother Prithvi Jindal, political interlocutors Digvijay Singh, Raman Singh and Arjun Munda, who requested not to publish stories against him.

The company also said that Naveen Jindal’s mother Savitri Jindal put emotional pressure on Jawahar Goel, who is one of the promoters of the Group, to stop broadcasting any matter against Jindal and his companies, citing relationship of four generations.

Agrawal said that the filing of FIR by Naveen Jindal on October 2, 2012 is an act of political pressure and it was based on a purported CD of 14 minutes which leads to the belief that the journalists were trying to extort money.

Meanwhile, Naveen Jindal, Member of Parliament and Chairman of JSPL, said on Wednesday that Delhi Police is investigating the case of alleged extortion by Zee News.

“The matter is subjudice, Delhi Police is investigating the matter,’’ Jindal said when asked about the arrest of Zee News editors on Tuesday.

Published on November 28, 2012

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