The Delhi Police Crime Branch has detected several contradictions in the statements of Zee chairman Subhash Chandra and his two editors who have been arrested for allegedly attempting to extort Rs.100 crore from Jindal Steel and Power Limited in the form of advertisements for diluting the campaign against JSPL in connection with the coal block allocation scam.
To almost all the questions posed by the police on Sunday, Mr. Chandra expressed ignorance. Emerging out of the Chanakyapuri office of the Crime Branch Inter-State Cell after the second round of questioning, he said he would file a defamation case against the Jindals.
It is learnt that during the questioning, Mr. Chandra was confronted with Sudhir Chaudhary, editor of Zee News, and Samir Ahluwalia, editor of Zee Business. who are presently in police custody. Having compared his statement with those of the two editors, the police have reportedly come across several contradictions in view of which they may again ask Mr. Chandra to join investigations.
Shortly after the seven-hour marathon questioning session, Mr. Chandra briefed journalists on his way out. He denied knowledge of any purported deal between the editors and representatives of JSPL. “I did not know about it. There is no Rs.100-crore deal…I got to know about the case on October 7.”
The Zee chairman also said that while he was in the United States, he had earlier received an SMS from Naveen Jindal enquiring if he could meet him. “I told him to call me in case it was urgent,” he said, adding that he fixed the meeting for the first week of November when told that it was not urgent.
Mr. Chandra said the questioning concluded for now and he would cooperate with the police as and when they required his presence. Although he conceded that he had spoken with Mr. Ahluwalia over mobile phone, a routine call to remain in touch with the editors of his channels, he could not recall the subject of the conversation on the day in question.