A Delhi court today adjourned till December 3, the hearing on bail pleas of top Zee News
editors Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia due to absence of the prosecutor and the investigating officer. They have been arrested and
charged with trying to extort Rs. 100 crore from Congress MP Naveen
Jindal's steel company. The two were sent to 14 days in judicial custody
The jailed editors, whose bail pleas have been dismissed once, filed fresh pleas on Friday and the police was supposed to argue the case after filing their replies today.
Mr Chaudhary, the channel's Group Editor, and Mr
Ahluwalia, the business head, were arrested on November 27 by the Delhi
police's Crime Branch in the case registered on a complaint by Jindal
Steel Power Limited (JSPL).
The two journalists face
charges of extortion and criminal conspiracy. Punishment for the first
is a maximum imprisonment of three years or fine or both. For criminal
conspiracy, it's up to six months or fine or both.
Mr Jindal has
alleged that Zee News tried to extort Rs 100 crore in exchange for not
airing unfavourable stories linking him and his group to the coal blocks
allocation scam, which rocked the UPA government earlier this year.
News called the arrest as an attempt by the Congress-led governments at
the Centre to gag the media and cover up the coal scam.
65 years of independence, the present Congress-led government is pushing
the media to not speak the truth and gag it. The arrests have been made
to sensationalise the issue and lend a cover to the coal scam and in
particular favour Naveen Jindal, Congress MP, and his company JSPL," the
company said in a statement.
The Delhi Police's Crime Branch has issued a notice to Zee TV owner Subhash Chandra in the case.
October 25, Mr Jindal had released a video-recording of meetings with
executives of Zee TV and claimed this to be proof that they were trying
to extort money from him. He said the news channel told his company's
executives that if they did not spend Rs 100 crore on advertising, the
channel would run negative stories on allocation of coal fields to his