SC notice to Centre, Jindal on Zee plea

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from Congress MP Naveen Jindal and the Centre on a plea by Zee Television seeking quashing of three FIRs, including the alleged extortion case, against the group and its editors.

The apex court also issued notice to the Delhi Police and sought its response on the allegation that it lodged the FIRs and launched criminal proceedings against the Zee editors allegedly at the behest of Jindal.

The notice was also issued to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) of which Naveen Jindal is the Chairman.  A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir asked them to file their response within two weeks and posted the matter after four weeks on Zee’s petition also seeking stay of the criminal proceedings against them.

The bench, also comprising justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen, issued notice to them on another petition filed by the Zee Group questioning the showcause notice issued to it by the Centre for telecasting a programme in which the channel revealed the identity of the male friend and eyewitness of the December 16 gang-rape case. The Centre in its notice has sought explanation from the Zee Group why its licence should not be cancelled.

Senior advocates Harish Salve and Maninder Singh, appearing for the Zee Group and its editors — Sudhir Chaudhary and Sameer Ahulwalia— alleged that the three FIRs registered on October 2, 2012, January 4, 2013, and January 15 were as a result of “unholy conspiracy” between Jindal and the Delhi Police.

The first FIR was in connection with the sting operation on the alleged extortion bid by Zee editors against Jindal’s company in which Chaudhary and Ahluwalia were in jail from November 27 to December 17, 2012. 

The second FIR was lodged against Zee for allegedly telecasting the programme revealing the identity of the eyewitness and male friend of the December 16 gang-rape case.

The third FIR was lodged against the TV channel on the complaint of JSPL alleging that the channel in its programme on coal block scam showed fabricated documents as annexure of CAG report.

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