The Delhi Police Crime Branch plans to soon summon those named in the extortion case registered against Zee TV on a complaint by Jindal Steel and Power Limited alleging that Rs.100 crore was demanded in the form of advertisements to dilute the campaign launched by the news channel against the business group in connection with the alleged coal block scam.
The Crime Branch has already sent the recordings of at least three meetings allegedly held between the JSPL officials and the Zee TV representatives to the Rohini forensic science laboratory for verification. On the basis of these recordings, JSPL has alleged that the demand for advertisements was made.
It has been learnt that the recordings of the three meetings run into over an hour. “We are yet to receive a report from the forensic science laboratory,” said an officer.
According to a Delhi Police source, statements of some of the JSPL officials have also been recorded. Those accused in the case will now be summoned for recording their statements.
In its response, Zee News has issued a statement stating that it has been unfairly targeted by JPCL for simply pursuing truth in the case, which is alleged to be one of the biggest scams in recent times.
“The industrialist-turned-politician promoted company has recently filed a police complaint against two senior journalists manning Zee News and Zee Business as a direct fallout of the channels’ sustained journalistic endeavour to unravel the truth in the coal block scam, which has visibly stirred the conscience of the nation for the alleged connivance between industrialists and the powers that be. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India estimated the losses to the tune of Rs.1.86 lakh crore in the coal allocation made by the government to a clutch of companies, including JSPL. JSPL’s share in this is one fifth of the allocation,” said the statement.
According to the FIR, the meetings between JSPL officials and Zee representatives took place on September 13, 17 and 19 at a South Delhi hotel. On the first day, the FIR states, three JSPL officials met one of the journalists during which Rs. 20 crore was demanded in the shape of advertisements and in the second meeting the demand was scaled up.