A court here on Wednesday granted the Delhi Police two-day custody of Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business editor Samir Ahluwalia, who are accused of allegedly demanding Rs.100 crore from Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) in the form of advertisements to purportedly dilute the campaign launched by their news channels against the firm in connection with the coal block allocation scam.
Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha also dismissed their bail applications. Meanwhile, the Delhi Police Crime Branch had issued notice to Zee Group chairman Subhash Chandra to join the investigation on Wednesday but he did not show up. The police are planning to issue another notice.
The police on Wednesday told the court that Mr. Chaudhary and Mr. Ahluwalia were required for sustained custodial interrogation. They were also to be questioned on whether Mr. Chandra and Puneet Goenka, the channels’ managing director, were aware of the matter.
The police have booked Mr. Chaudhary and Mr. Ahluwalia for extortion, cheating and criminal conspiracy. They were arrested on Tuesday after being called for questioning.
Additional Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told the court that there could be others involved in the conspiracy and the “money may have been meant for the whole group.”
Rebecca John, counsel for the two editors, argued that the police remand was unwarranted as the authorities had in their possession all the evidence and had even subjected the video footage of the sting operation for forensic examination.
She said that according to the FIR, it was JSPL which initiated the meeting.
Counsel also rejected the charge of extortion against her clients saying this was applicable only when money changed hands.