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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

2 Zee editors in police custody, notice to promoter

Sumit Saxena & Upasana Mukherjee , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 28, 2012
First Published: 19:11 IST(28/11/2012) | Last Updated: 09:02 IST(29/11/2012)

A Delhi court on Wednesday dismissed the bail plea of two senior Zee Group editors arrested for allegedly demanding Rs. 100 crore for not broadcasting reports on a Jindal group company’s role in the coal scam.

Metropolitan magistrate Gomati Manocha sent Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business’ Samir Ahluwalia to police custody till November 30 for further interrogation.

What’s more, a senior police officer said Zee Group promoter Subhash Chandra and Zee News MD Puneet Goenka — alleged by Delhi police to have been involved in the bid to extort money from the company owned by Congress MP Naveen Jindal — were served notices to join the investigation.

But the Zee journalists’ counsel Rebecca John denied the charges: “The first information report [FIR] is nothing but a counterblast to put media on the back foot.” She said the manner in which police arrested the two senior editors was a direct violation of the freedom of the press.

Opposing the need for custodial interrogation, John made a counter-allegation that the accused were approached by the Jindal group. But additional public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said it was clear from the forensic report that the audio and video evidence was not doctored, he said.

Both the journalists have been booked under section 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) of the IPC.

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