A Delhi court today reserved its order for Monday on bail pleas of two Zee group editors, arrested for their alleged roles in the case of Rs 100 crore extortion bid from Congress MP Naveen Jindal's firm.
"Come for order on both the bail application on Monday,"
Additional Sessions Judge Raj Rani Mitra said after hearing for five hours the arguments on third bail pleas of Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business Editor Samir Ahluwalia.
Their counsel said the records of two editors are "unimpeachable" and that their bail can be rejected, only if the prosecution proves that they are facing trial in other criminal cases.
They added their clients have wives and children to look after and the court should release them after imposing conditions that it deems fit.
"We have roots in society and we have to look after our family, including wives and minor school-going kids, so the court should release us on bail by imposing conditions, it deems fit.
"Only antecedents are to be seen to withhold my bail but my antecedents are unimpeachable," their counsel R N Mittal, Sunil Mittal and Vijay Aggarwal said.
They said it was a peculiar case, where the FIR has been lodged at midnight on a national holiday on October 2.
"This shows how powerful is the complainant, that he has lodged an extortion case against me at midnight. This can only happen," they said.
Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan opposed their application saying, "Each of these accused have played a vital role in commission of the offence. If they are released on bail, they may tamper with the evidence."
Mohan further contended that the Zee group had aired a fabricated CAG report, in which they highlighted that Navin Jindal's firm was allocated coal blocks.
The editors' counsel said their clients have already been in police custody and have been remanded to judicial custody, after being confronted with their bosses.
"They have also given consent for voice samples, so nothing much remains to keep them behind bars," they said.
They said whatever evidence the police could have gathered has been seized and sealed and there is no possibility of tampering with the evidence.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal contended that the Zee group had aired the CAG report, which clearly shows that Navin Jindal and his relatives were allegedly allocated coal blocks.
On the other hand, Mohan told the court that through out the month of September and October, while the offence was being committed, Ahluwalia was continuously in touch with Chandra, even when he was abroad, which can be proved from their call records.
The public prosecutor also said the investigation is still going on and that the reply of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory on the content of the laptops seized from the two editors' offices is also awaited.
"We think it contains crucial information like repression of the advertisement deal for which they were asking Rs 100 crores," Mohan said.
The editors' counsel, on the other hand, contended, "Just to divert public attention from how Naveen Jindal has looted the country, the two editors have been lodged in the jail by registering false case against them."