SC asks journalists to give voice samples in extortion case

SC asks journalists to give voice samples in extortion case

SC asks journalists to give voice samples in extortion case

The Supreme Court today ordered journalists Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia to give voice samples by reading out transcripts provided by CFSL in a case of alleged extortion lodged by industrialist and Congress leader Naveen Jindal and his firm.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said the journalists, associated with news channels, are not required to repeat the sentences referred to in the FIR and they will have to speak words given in the transcript provided by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

"By an order of this court dated July 1, the IO was directed to file a transcript of the disputed conversation in a sealed cover.

"The Director CFSL-CBI was called upon to file in a sealed cover a proposed passage of a written text which the appellants shall be required to read out for the purpose of giving their voice samples using words, but not the sentences appearing in the disputed conversation in such number as the Director/Scientific Officer may consider necessary for the purpose of comparison," the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

The court said that the direction would allay apprehension of the journalists with regard to the fairness of the process involved in drawing the voice samples.

"Our directions ensure that the text which the appellants would be called upon to read out for the purpose of drawing their voice samples will not have sentences from the inculpatory text. Similarly, permitting the text to contain words drawn from the disputed conversation would meet the legitimate concern of the investigating authorities for making a fair comparison," it said.

Chaudhary and Ahluwalia were arrested in 2012 when Jindal's firm had complained that they had asked for an extortion amount of Rs 100 crore in return of not airing negative news against the firm in a coal block allocation scam case.