Two Zee News journalists held for extortion
Two senior journalists of Zee News were arrested here Tuesday on charges of attempting to extort Rs.100 crore from Congress MP Naveen Jindal's company in exchange for not filing news reports linking his firm to the coal blocks allocation, said police.
Sudhir Chaudhary, head of Zee News, and Samir Ahluwalia, head of Zee Business, were arrested by Crime Branch of Delhi Police following the registration of an extortion case about 45 days ago on a complaint of Jindal's company.
"Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia were arrested by Crime Branch Tuesday evening under criminal conspiracy and extortion cases," Deputy Commissioner of Police S.B.S. Tyagi told IANS.
The journalists will be presented before the Saket court Wednesday.
Jindal last month released a CD which purportedly showed footage in which the Zee journalists were trying to strike a deal with his company officials, telling them that their TV news channel will not air negative stories on Jindal Group if the money is paid to them.
Chaudhary had rubbished the allegations as "fabrication" and described it as "pressure tactics" to prevent the channel from doing expose stories.
"We have done a series of stories on coal scam based on official papers. This is a retaliation to our relentless campaign against corruption," he had said.
Jindal, who is chairman of Jindal Power and Steel Ltd, (JPSL), had earlier claimed that the Zee executives had demanded Rs.20 crore for four years and they secretly filmed the meetings.
They later raised the demand to Rs.100 crore for not broadcasting stories against the company in relation to allocation of coal blocks, Jindal alleged.
JPSL is among the companies named in the CAG report as one of the beneficiaries of the controversial coal block allocations.
In a retaliatory move, Zee News last month sent a Rs.150 crore defamation notice to the Congress MP, who too had filed a Rs.200 crore case against the media conglomerate, claiming the TV channel had tried to extort money from his company.