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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Zee head, son quizzed in extortion bid case

Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 08, 2012
First Published: 23:46 IST(8/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:47 IST(8/12/2012)

Ending days of suspense, Zee News group chairman Subhash Chandra and managing director Puneet Goenka appeared before the Delhi Police crime branch on Saturday and was confronted with the two senior journalists of the channel arrested for allegedly trying to extort Rs. 100 crore from Jindal Steel Private Limited (JSPL), a company owned by industrialist Naveen Jindal.

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The two Zee News top bosses arrived at the crime branch office on Saturday after being served three notices, the last one being on Tuesday, by the crime branch, asking them to appear for questioning in connection with the alleged extortion bid. The two editors —Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia — were arrested on November 27 following investigations into an FIR lodged on October 2 by the Jindal group.

Chaudhary and Ahluwalia were brought to inter state cell (ISC) office of the crime branch for being confronted with Chandra and Goenka, who is also Chandra's son.

At 2 pm, dressed in a dark blue blazer and light blue shirt, Chandra — who had secured an interim protection from arrest till December 14 — arrived at crime branch office in a white Mercedes Benz SUV. Chandra was accompanied by his brother, Jawahar Goel, and his lawyers. Sitting on the front seat next to his driver, Chandra was flanked by an array of camerapersons and photographers from the media the moment he stepped out of his vehicle with a smile on his face.

The officers at the ISC office immediately formed a security ring and took them inside the office building. Several police officers, including an ACP, were found waiting at the entrance gate of ISC office for Chandra.

At 2.20 pm, SBS Tyagi, DCP (crime) came to ISC to question Chandra and his son Goenka, who arrived at 2.30 pm in a white Land Cruiser Prado with his lawyer.

SBK Singh, joint CP (crime) reached there at 4.35 pm and left at 6.10 pm after questioning Chandra and Goenka. Both Chandra and Goenka landed here from abroad on Saturday.

Chandra had earlier told the police that he could not appear before them as he was abroad. But, later on Monday he told them that he was ready to appear within 96 hours of notice. The police then served him and his son notices and asked them to appear before them on Saturday.

Sources said Chandra and Goenka were questioned to know about their role in the matter. Police also questioned them about the "dummy" advertisement agreement allegedly drafted by Chaudhary and Ahluwalia and handed over to the Jindal group's representatives.

Senior police officers refused to share anything on the statements given by Chandra and Goenka.

Zee News Limited issued a press note later in the evening, saying Chandra and Goenka were extending fullest co-operation to the Delhi police in the investigation. Zee Group said that they expect justice and a fair inquiry.

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