Naveen Jindal releases CD to back charges of extortion
Police record statements of people involved
In the wake of Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s allegation that Zee News’ editor Sudhir Chaudhry tried to extort Rs 100 crore as advertising commitments for his channel in exchange of dropping reports on irregular allocations of coal blocks to Jindal’s companies, the crime branch of Delhi Police has started recording statements of people involved in the alleged extortion.
“We had received a complaint and accordingly a case was registered. We have started recording statements of people who all were involved in the case. It is too early to say what actually happened there and who tried to extort as we are still investigating into the matter,” said a senior police officer. Congress leader and steel tycoon Naveen Jindal released CDs at a press conference on Thursday, accusing a representative of the news channel of trying to blackmail him, the police officer said.
The footage was captured by Jindal’s employees. Police said they are waiting for Central Forensic Science Laboratory’s reports to verify the authenticity of the video footage. “Whether the footage is original or doctored, it has to be verified,” said the officer.
He said while the complaint was made, they also received a CD which was immediately sent to the forensic lab for test.
However, Sudhir Chaudhry, business head and editor of the Zee Group, and Sameer Ahluwalia of Zee Business refuted the leader’s allegations.
They said they “condemn and completely reject the CD” produced by Jindal against them.
“We see this as a deliberate attempt to malign and defame us,” said Chaudhry in an official statement.
He said in a bid to suppress the coverage that Zee News was telecasting on Coalgate, the corporate communications team from Jindal Steel and Power Limited first tried to bribe Ahluwalia with Rs 25 crore which he declined.
“The undeterred JSPL team offered Zee News and Zee Business an advertising deal of Rs 100 crore to somehow stop the coverage of Coalgate scam on air,” he added.
Jindal’s company JSPL has filed a case against Zee, which is promoted by Subhash Chandra, over an attempt to extort money from it. The FIR was lodged under sections pertaining to extortion after the company’s HR head submitted a written complaint to police against Chaudhry and Ahluwalia of Zee Business, as well as others, alleging they were trying to extort money from his company through advertisements in lieu of dropping certain stories regarding coal mine allocations.