Congress MP Naveen Jindal was on Saturday summoned as an accused by a Delhi Court on a complaint by Zee News editor Samir Ahluwalia for allegedly defaming him at a press conference in 2012.

Metropolitan Magistrate Swati Katiyar summoned Jindal and four other officials of the Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.

“From the record, a prima facie case is made out against accused Naveen Jindal, Anand Goel, Vikrant Gujral and Ravi Uppal. Accordingly, accused be summoned...,” the court said, summoning them for May 16.

Mr. Naveen Jindal is the whole-time director of Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, Mr. Goel and Mr. Gujral are also directors while Mr. Uppal is the managing director of the company.

Mr. Ahluwalia’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal had contended that, “On October 25, 2012, M/s Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. called a press conference which was presided over by Mr. Jindal and Mr. Goel, Mr. Gujral and Mr. Uppal took active part in the said conference.”

It was submitted that “various defamatory and false statements were made at the conference against Mr. Ahluwalia to the effect that he had demanded Rs.20 crore from the company and when called by the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) and enquired, he said he was conducting a sting but the BEA was not satisfied...”

Mr. Aggarwal contended that the statements made at the conference were false and made with an intention to malign his client’s image and the same stands proved by the fact that Mr. Ahluwalia has never been a member of the BEA and he was never called by the Association to furnish evidence in his defence.

He said the statements were widely publicised to tarnish his image.

Mr. Ahluwalia said his colleague, a correspondent with Zee Business, was also present at Mr. Jindal’s press conference and believed the statements made there to be true as after the conference, he came up to him and questioned him about the allegations.

Mr. Ahluwalia had examined himself before the court while his colleague also recorded his statement as a witness in the pre-summoning evidence. The complaint named other officials of the company too but they have not been summoned by the magistrate. A defamation suit had been filed by the company earlier against the news channel, in which Mr. Ahluwalia has also been named.

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