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Zee editors held for extortion

New Delhi, Nov 27, 2012, DHNS: 1:05 IST
Naveen Jindal. File Photo
Zee News editor and business head Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business editor and business head Samir Ahluwalia were arrested on Tuesday for trying to extort Rs 100 crore from industrialist and Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s company to stop airing a negative story about the company’s alleged involvement in the illegal coal block allocations.

According to S B S Tyagi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime and railways), Sudhir and Samir were held after investigation conducted by the crime branch’s inter-state cell. “The arrests have been made after we recorded statements of all the parties concerned,” said a senior police official, requesting anonymity.

Zee News denied all the allegations and described the arrests as a “crude and direct attack on the freedom of the press.”

Jindal alleges that Sudhir and Samir told the representatives of his company — Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) — that if they did not spend Rs 100 crore on advertising, they would air stories on his involvement in the coal scam.

Jindal had earlier shown tapes purportedly recorded in a sting operation, alleging that the channel tried to blackmail the company. He also alleges that Zee had been airing “baseless, false and fabricated news to malign his name and that of my company. On approaching Zee to clarify our stance, we were asked to provide monetary favours. We were shocked to hear this as in the 40 years of our existence, we have never been blackmailed.”

Jindal also has a video footage that showcased conversation between Sudhir and Samir, and JSPL’s representatives in meetings held on September 10, 17 and 19.

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