Zee heads get anticipatory bail

Zee Group chairman Subhash Chandra and Zee News MD and CEO Punit Goenka were on Thursday granted interim protection from arrest by Saket Court till December 14.

Delhi Police have already served multiple notices to the father-son duo asking them to join the probe into the allegations of two senior journalists of Zee News trying to extort Rs 100 crore from industrialist and Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s company.

The court directed Chandra and Goenka to surrender their passports to police, join the probe and cooperate with investigators.

Additional sessions judge Raj Rani Mitra told police to file a fresh report on the case on December 14. The Delhi Police crime branch had earlier decided to interrogate them on Saturday.

“Keeping in view the totality of circumstances of the case, the fact that prosecution has not reached a conclusion as to whether custodial interrogation of the applicants is required in the present case, the applicants are directed to join and cooperate with the investigation of the case,” ASJ Mitra said.

“The matter be renotified for further arguments and fresh report from the investigating officer on December 14. In the meantime, applicants shall not be arrested. However, they are directed to surrender their passport to the IO,” he added.

The order was passed after hearing arguments on the application filed by the father-son duo, seeking interim protection from arrest or anticipatory bail. During the day’s hearing, special public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan, however, opposed their plea saying that police cannot commit or assure that they will not be arrested.

“The moment we get a lead on the alleged extortion made on behalf of the Zee Group by their two editors, we will arrest them,” Mohan told the court.

Police had served notice asking Chandra and Goenka to join the investigation soon after the arrest of Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business editor Samir Ahluwalia following a complaint by Jindal Steel and Power Ltd claiming that money was sought to block the broadcast of a negative story over coal block allocation.

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